What We Got Right (and Wrong) in 2018

(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- It’s devilishly hard to pin down the future, but that didn’t stop us from trying. Here are some of our predictions from The Year Ahead 2018.

Right

What We Got Right (and Wrong) in 2018

 
● Tech
We said: Big tech companies will be fined.
 
What happened: Google paid a record $5.1 billion fine in an Android antitrust case, and Apple started paying the $15.4 billion in back taxes it owes Ireland.
 
● Economy
We said: “The world economy should grow nicely again in 2018.”
 
What happened: The IMF estimates global growth of 3.7 percent in 2018, same as 2017.
 
● Politics
We said: Presidential elections in Mexico and Brazil could take radical turns.
 
What happened: Mexico zigged left with Andrés Manuel López Obrador; Brazil zagged right with Jair Bolsonaro.
 
● Companies
We said: Nintendo will be one to watch.
 
What happened: The success of the Switch attracted third-party game developers.

Kinda Right

What We Got Right (and Wrong) in 2018

 
● Midterms
We said: President Trump’s sagging ratings give the Democrats hope for overturning the GOP majority for the first time since 2006.
 
What happened: Five out of the six districts we focused on flipped.
 
● Markets
We said: “Even if the global economy does well in 2018, financial markets might not.”
 
What happened: While U.S. markets have eked out a tiny gain, the FTSE, DAX, and Nikkei were down 8.5 percent, 11.5 percent, and 4 percent, respectively, as of Nov. 14.
 
● European Central Bank
We said: A turning point could come in September, when the ECB “might stop or curtail monthly bond purchases.”
 
What happened: The purchases end in December.

Kinda Wrong

What We Got Right (and Wrong) in 2018

 
● Energy
We said: Saudi officials say Aramco is “on track” for a $1 trillion IPO.
 
What happened: The offering looks far less likely, with investors skeptical of the hoped-for valuation. MBS now says: “late 2020, early 2021.”
 
● Cybersecurity
We said: The next big cyberattack could affect U.S. utilities and nuclear power plants.
 
What happened: There’s only scattered evidence that utilities are being targeted.
 
● Brexit
We said: There are three scenarios under which Brexit could be undone.
 
What happened: The U.K. is still limping toward an exit.
 
● Space
We said: Commercial spaceflight is about to “get real.”
 
What happened: Rocket Lab, Virgin Galactic, and Boeing have all pushed their dates back for orbital flights.

Wrong

What We Got Right (and Wrong) in 2018

 
● India
We said: “The Reserve Bank of India is likely to cut interest rates, fueling a rebound.”
 
What happened: The RBI raised rates half a percentage point, fearing inflation wasn’t under control.
 
● 5G
We said: Standards for superfast wireless are “poised to be determined” this year.
 
What happened: Global standards remain under development, but 4G is still really fast!
 
● China
We said: The country’s policymakers are expected to “tamp down on credit growth” as President Xi Jinping focuses on “defusing financial risks.”
 
What happened: The trade war and an economic slowdown forced the Chinese to loosen credit.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.