Tallying our 2018 predictions hits - and misses

Dice with pencil on graph paper

By Katrina Hamlin

HONG KONG, Dec 31 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Breakingviews is readying forecasts for the new year in an annual attempt to divine the trends and the troubles ahead. But the final day of 2018 is also a moment to tally hits and misses from the past twelve months. Our crystal ball sometimes works in mysterious ways.

Several of last January's predictions hit the bullseye. We were right that veteran Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein would bow out. A warning that bitcoin speculators could face total wipeout was timely: the digital currency lost three-quarters of its dollar value in 2018. Sexual misconduct has haunted annual reports on Wall Street and beyond. Scandals rocked corporate Japan, culminating in the arrest of Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn. The advice that Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping would be best doing nothing - and wise to avoid meddling with trade at all costs - was pertinent, but sadly ignored.

Other forecasts look premature. With three months to go until Britain leaves the European Union, the outcome of Brexit remains uncertain, and the process even more chaotic and confused than we anticipated. Meanwhile, electric cars are still chasing price parity with gas guzzlers.

We had our share of bloopers and blind spots. Saudi Aramco didn't go public in China - or anywhere else. Nor did we anticipate that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reforms would stretch to the gruesome murder of a prominent journalist. While we flagged Trump and Xi as a dangerous duo, we fell short of foreseeing a trade war, with side effects rippling from Manhattan to Macau. And Apple stock turned out to be a less-than-perfect hedge against the tech backlash. Both Google parent Alphabet and Amazon outperformed the iPhone maker in 2018.

Even when predictions fell short of the mark, however, they can still be thought-provoking. We hope that this year's crop will continue to drive debate.

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- Read Reuters Breakingviews' predictions for 2019 on Eikon, or online: (graphic).

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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