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12/27/15

Ten random predictions for 2016

Here we go with the IKN Never-Fail Forecasts* for the year to come. And as in 2014 and 2015 we're sticking to the same general format with a mix of financial, politics and sport. After scoring 5.5/10 in 2013, 6/10 in 2014 and 5.5/10 in 2015 (sport good, financials ok, politics miss) there's a trend to protect and I'll need to break the 50/50 barrier again, but as always part of the deal is to go for a real left-field call or two and try hard to fail in at least a couple of them. Because light-heart.

*some restrictions apply

So to business:
1) Gold to break through U$1,250/oz in the course of 2016. I'll also call it as potentially breaking under U$1k/oz at some point early year, but that's more tentative and I won't care much either because it'll only be a spike if it does and the noise from the wailing world will be far greater than its real effect. No, the call for gold this year is positive, for gradual improvement and a second half of 2016 that's better than the first. So get positioned and then sit back and enjoy (oh isn't this easy? What could possibly go wrong?).
2) Silver to rally against gold and the gold/silver ratio will finally break under 70/1. It's been that high since October 2014 but I think it could be better for the poor relation metal in the year ahead. However and the same as last year, I still much prefer gold mining stocks to silver mining stocks as the goldies have much more chance of making real profits.
3) Uranium to go nowhere yet again. I get to score points every year by stating the obvious; Uranium is the buggy-whip metal, if you discount the pretty colours it makes if you mix it with molten glass it only has two uses and one of those is very nasty indeed, there's a lot of it out there and pinning the hopes of a commodity on a power generation industry that has worked out these power plants cost a lot of money to close down and that governments now make you take those costs into consideration doesn't make any sense when other sources of power are cheaper, easier and more flexible. 
4) Goldcorp (GG) to buy Lake Shore Gold (LSG). Because Chuck.
5) Copper to go under $2/lb early year and to rally to $2.50/lb by the end of the year. Because China. Junior copper companies are still to be avoided though, a bit like iron ore this metal is now strictly and big-player game.
6) Venezuela's government to implode. Maduro won't be President this time next year. It's likely to be very messy too. Venezuela has been the butt of annual "teetering on the brink" type of op-eds and articles every year for the last ten years with the right-wing press getting it wrong every time, but this time around things are obviously deteriorating and the opposition victory in the December elections just gone is a telling moment. Oil prices where they are could be straw that breaks this camel's back as China won't be so quick to bail them out this time. I don't know whether the PSUV party will fall from government, but the call is "govt implode" and "Maduro out", that's the thing.
7) Keiko Fujimori to become the next President of Peru. The campaign proper won't until February, it's very tough to call in December and for the record I personally am anti-Keiko (I think a Fuji in power in Peru could set the country back years). All the same I'm calling her as the next Prez. Keiko leads the polls today but she won't make it a round one win and will likely face off with Alan Garcia in the run-off (or maybe PPK, but I doubt Cesar Acuña or Alejandro Toledo will get close). From there in round two it's anyone's game but I'm going to stick my neck out and call Keiko, she seems to be doing enough to separate herself from the negative aspects of her father's legacy. Her headwinds include the country's blatantly sexist society and doubts it will ever vote for a woman leader. Time to join the 21st century, Peru.
8) Usain Bolt to break the world record for the men's 200 metres in the final at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Because hero (and I'll be taking half points for a gold without a record that day).
9) England to win the Euro 16 European Football Championships. Because 1) it's about time they won something 2) their team is finally improving and a new batch of young and near-world class players are showing through 3) the other serious Euro countries only care about the World Cup. Still, this is bound to be a controversial prediction and I know when I'm calling an outsider.
10) Christopher Froome to win the Tour de France and retain his crown. Just to annoy the French. And the Spanish. And the Colombians. But mainly to annoy the French. Sport has its uses.

There you go, our Ten For The Prize in 2016, expect the usual post-mortem post just before next Christmas comes.