- Oil trades below $25/barrel, briefly touching down between $10-$15. This will cause havoc within the nuttier OPEC nations. Leaders in Venezuela and Iran will be particularly stressed. The situation in non-OPEC Russia will become increasingly dire as the Russian economy goes into freefall and society breaks down. Historic crime wave in Moscow. Putin goes on some more military adventures to misdirect the restless natives and tries to hold Western Europe hostage to Russia's natural gas resources. Hugo Chavez flees to Cuba with a large horde of cash.
- By supporting Hamas, Iran is playing a game of chicken with Israel. Israel will launch a strike against Iran before Obama assumes the presidency. Ahmadinejad will use this as an excuse to attempt a blockade of the Straight of Hormuz, creating a brief tanker war and increasing the price of crude. The attempt fails.
- Dubai collapses, dragging down the other Emirates which are frantically trying to prop it up. Tens of thousands of formerly wealthy European speculators will be wiped out. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be forced to unload his prized airline to Abu Dhabi. Emirates will then be merged with Etihad. A380 orders will be canceled or deferred.
- Massive societal upheavals in China as millions of laid-off factory workers are driven back to the countryside. Manufacturers around the world will find it difficult to maintain production due to supply problems of critical parts that have all been outsourced to China.
- Citizens of Zimbabwe finally get some limited relief after a coup is launched against Robert Mugabe. Once he is captured, he will be tortured and publicly executed after a session in front of a kangaroo court.
- Iceland clamors to join the EU, while current EU members including Italy and Greece hold talks to get out of the Euro.
- Web 2.0 bust. The majority of social networking sites will go belly-up as investors pull the plug on most of this nonsense. MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn will be among the few survivors.
- The Democrat-controlled Congress will become increasingly protectionist, blocking all free-trade deals regardless of whether or not they are good for the country. Americans as a whole will become more isolationist.
- Sears Holdings Corporation files for bankruptcy protection. Eddie Lampert's expensive "Sears is a real estate play" experiment will fail as the market is flooded by a massive inventory of vacant, never-occupied commercial real estate. Once-storied Sears brands are sold off to companies such as Lowe's and Best Buy.
- Unemployment approaches 9%.
- 2009 is the year the US will get some type of nationalized medical insurance program under the guise of helping manufacturers. This will occur more quickly than people think. Manufacturers will, of course, cease providing medical insurance to employees and retirees.
- Ballmer is fired from Microsoft. The Redmond campus experiences massive layoffs as new Microsoft management tries to "get back to basics" and focus on doing things right. Google's Mountain View offices are emptied as Google management realizes that they have wasted billions on non-producing projects.
- Terrorists will attempt an attack on US soil during or soon after the presidential transition.
- Residential real estate will start to bottom out during the final quarter of 2009 in many markets, including Florida, Arizona and parts of inland California. Panic selling by banks anxious to unload deteriorating houses that have never been occupied will finally establish a floor. This will not mark a recovery, but will mark the beginning of a very long trough in real estate values that will last for years. Coastal California, the Pacific Northwest and the New York-Baltimore-Washington corridor will continue to decline throughout 2009 and into 2010. On a national level real estate will be down 35% from peak, while bubble zones will be down 55-65%. The option ARMs won't blow up later this year and into 2011 for reasons explained here.
- 2009 will mark the year when Motorola and GE get their mojo back. Palm files for bankruptcy protection. Dell, like Microsoft, becomes a punchline. PC commoditization and lack of innovation will lead to a big decline in sales.
- In Houston, Safeway attempts to unload the Randalls supermarket chain after years of mismanagement. Safeway gives up after finding no buyers. Randalls shuts its doors and few people notice. Whole Foods sees a whole lot of problems.
- Serin gets a damn job after being threatened with eviction by his parents. He will be selling cars for Steve.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
2008 predictions are here. Please feel free to add your own predictions or snarky comments.