Ten surprises for 2012

Forecasting may be a fool's errand, but could there be positive news afoot for the US economy and Australian dollar? Here are 10 predictions for the year ahead.

In the middle of last North American summer, a preliminary assessment I made of the 'Ten Surprises' of 2011 (forecasts for the year) looked bleak. The United States economy had been sluggish during the first half of the year and there were widespread fears that a recession was imminent. The equity market was almost in a free-fall during August and September and the European sovereign debt crisis had become virulent. Gold, however, had exceeded my target of $1,600 as risk aversion around the world drove investors into hard assets. US Treasury securities declined in yield, rather than rising as I expected, because investors everywhere moved away from equities and parked their funds in the government debt of a country with a strong military and the ability to print money.

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