Future Forecast: Roundup of Scattered Probabilities

[The Crystal Ball by John William Waterhouse, c. 1902]

While thinking about forecasting the future, I collected a few short-term predictions for the year ahead worth kicking around a bit. After gazing deeply into my crystal ball, I added a few predictions of my own.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center at NOAA forecasts below-average precipitation in the Pacific Northwest along with higher than average temperatures in the Southwest through Summer 2013. Looks like rainfall across areas stricken by drought in 2012 might be normal, but this will not overcome the soil moisture deficit.

My prediction: Beef, pork, and milk prices will remain high or increase — and that’s before any weirdness in pricing due to changes in federal regulations after the so-called “fiscal cliff.” And the U.S. government, both White House and Congress, will continue to do even less than the public expects when it comes to climate change.

The European Commission predicted the UK will lead economic recovery in the EU with a meager 0.9% growth rate anticipated in 2013. The southern portion of the EU is expected to continue to struggle while the rest of the EU stagnates.

My prediction: More mumbling about breaking up the EU, with just enough growth to keep at bay any action to that effect. Silvio Berlusconi will continue to provide both embarrassment and comedic relief to Italy and the EU. (What are they putting in that old freak’s pasta? Or are they doping his hair color?)

In September, the Federal Reserve Bank forecast slowish growth in the U.S. through 2013. Did they take into account the lame duck status of an already lethargic and incompetent Congress in this prediction? Did the Fed Reserve base this forecast on a Romney or an Obama win? This forecast seems oddly optimistic before November’s election.

My prediction: All bets are off now, since the over-long backbiting and quibbling over the so-called fiscal cliff has eroded public sentiment. Given the likelihood of increased food prices due to the 2012 global drought, the public will feel more pain in their wallet no matter the outcome of fiscal cliff negotiations, negatively affecting consumer sentiment. The only saving grace has been stable to lower gasoline prices due to lower heating oil demand–the only positive outcome of a rather warm winter to date.

An analyst forecast Apple sales of iPads will equate nearly 60 percent of the total tablet market in 2013. As an owner of AAPL stock, I rather liked this. Unfortunately, that prediction was made in October, before the release of the iPad Mini. The stock market had something entirely different to say about the forecast–more like a bitchslap to the tune of nearly $200 decline per share between October and year-end. *Ouch!* Not all of that was based on the market’s rejection of the forecast on iPad Mini sales, though; much of that fall was related to the gross failure of Apple’s map application launched alongside the iPhone 5.

My prediction: I will continue to bemoan the failure to sell some AAPL stock in September 2012, while many of you will continue to buy Apple products. I thank you buyers in advance for trying so hard to boost my spirits and bolster my kids’ college fund in the coming year. Oh, and Google Maps will continue to eat at market share; it’s going to be a while before Apple recovers from its epic map failures. Conveniently, there’s GOOG stock in the kids’ college fund, too.

What about you? Are any of these predictions worth the pixels with which they’re presented?  What do you predict for the year ahead? Do tell.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
15 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    being the quick study that he is, i predict gen david petraeus will not commit the boner in 2013 that he did in 2012.

  2. bell says:

    rayne – thanks for sharing!

    “And the U.S. government, both White House and Congress, will continue to do even less than the public expects when it comes to climate change.”

    i think this is true for us here in canada as well. the economy always trumps the environment, until we don’t have a healthy environment anymore, at which point the economy is going to really suck too..

    i could be wrong, and i know i have been many times in the past, but i think apple and google are doing a reenactment of the tech stock bubble of the early 2000’s… just when they come back to earth is anyone’s guess, but that is my take on those 2 companies..

    i think you are right about higher food prices for a number of reasons including how certain things are subsidized to create unfair dynamics globally. i found it fascinating how corn is being used so much in so many types of foods whether it be for sugar, or etc. etc.. being dependent on one crop for so much might seem to make economic sense in a short sighted way, but it doesn’t make much sense in so many other ways.. i think countries and people need to continue to diversity to create healthy alternatives to what big agra or big corporations are busy doing.. happy new year to you and the folks at emptywheel..

  3. ryan says:

    I predict that by July, they’ll issue an update on the long-delayed investigation into General Allen’s emails, explaining they hadn’t realized the initial investigator had a reading disorder. Rather than hand the emails over to someone else, they’ve settled on providing him with a speech synth program, which is currently out to bid, while they try to figure out whether it’s prejudicial if they have a sultry voice reading the Kelly side of the email chain.

    The new plan will be to issue the report the morning of the Army-Navy football game in the fall, and then allow cadets and midshipmen to decide by acclamation whether Allen’s nomination to become chief military officer of NATO would be reinstated. “We think the use of acclamation is just another way we’re ensuring democratic control over the military,” a DoD spokesperson said. “This was a major method of public input into decisions of Roman emperors, and we believe it should be for the American emp-, ahem, the American government as well.”

  4. Rayne says:

    @bell: IMO, AAPL and GOOG represent the alternatives when the safe investments of the past are compromised. It used to be that one could safely invest in real estate and energy, reasonably expecting a profit. Not so since 2008. The money goes to the place where demand remains visible and constant–if you own an Apple/Mac anything, use Google any time of the day, you can see it at your fingertips.

    The dot com bubble had entirely different drivers, more like the wild west land boom and the gold rush. A lot of resources chasing nebulous opportunity.

    In re: food prices — the big, silent, deadly burden is ethanol for automobiles and other alternative energy production. Really pisses me off that U.S. gov’t just approved increases in ethanol percentage in auto fuel, when the past and anticipated future drought will continue to suppress corn production levels. This will only ensure that consumers pay more in groceries and car repairs for stable fuel prices. Robbing Peter, paying Paul.

  5. person1597 says:

    Given our propensity to look for patterns, the idea is that the past mimics the future. Here’s a comment from 2006 (Mr. Peabody: We need to take the wayback machine to August 2006 to see for ourselves.)

    Sorry to be late for troll call…and I wasn’t even going to publish this…

    Imm39, last thread re Hil ‘n Hagel N.U.Ticket…

    Your solution fits a curious paradox suggested by the “bubble curve” which I have yet been able to explain. After a fractious and blistering republican meltdown, your national unity meme could gain traction as the neocon backlash gives way to economic pessimism by the end of the 2008 recession. A democratic president, victorious in 2008, somehow yields to a new republican-style administration within a year and triggers a three year recession beginning in 2010. After all that passes, another true democrat takes the reins and a nice recovery ensues (almost back to these levels).

    And the money quote?

    That big volume spike on the bottom of the chart looks like everybody getting back in just before the 2013 recovery.

    Actually, that big volume spike in 2002/2003 (on the N225) was the BOJ scooping up equities. It was a last ditch effort to keep deflation at bay. Heh heh. In 2010, Bernanke knew that he needed a new round of QE when he announced QE2 in Sept. at Jackson Hole. That was the difference — Japan had to pull out all the stops when the Y2K tech bubble popped. The Fed must have decided that QE4evah was better than Uncle Sam monetizing securities and then selling them back to us in the form of highly un-discounted Treasuries.

    Oh, wait…

    The question now suggests a fork — will the Goopers crater the economy with a cliff dive, or will our President step up to the plate with some long overdue hardball.

    It’s “Plan A” to see that “a nice recovery ensues”… (And the Nikkei could resume its 2006 luster — the S&P is close…)

    Fortunately, Plan B was disposed of.

  6. Starbuck says:

    So far as NOAA in the PNW, we are already well beyond last year’s snowfall on Mt Hood. At Timberline @6000″ the annal snowfall, beginning Sept. 1 2012 is 293″ yet a base dept of only 112″, indicating a huge melt off already this year.

    A dry spell is in the cards for the next week, and already that’s changing.

  7. Rayne says:

    @person1597: Jeebus. That’s fucking breathtaking, that 2006 comment. What else was posted in the dark bowels of comments? The cure to cancer? The plans for a hyper-drive? Cheap, easy fusion-generated electricity? LOL

    @Starbuck: Horde the melt now, NOAA’s predictions show below-average precipitation for PNW July through September 2013.

  8. person1597 says:

    @Rayne: Let’s see, induced apoptosis, condensed matter hydrodynamics, and photon-electron congress. Yep, dollars to doughnuts… it’s somewhere in the Lake!

  9. JohnLopresti says:

    The Democratic Party in the US Congress will forge the way to a pre-2014 election vision for improving the economy.

    Meanwhile, Republicans will waffle and laugh as certain friends of theirs in select European banks make profits at the expense of southern Europe and outlier nations. PM Cameron will keep a lively colloquy going with Merkel, to no avail, as the German leader is replaced, despite windfall profits to certain European banks that look favorably upon her.

    In 2013 Germany will ban nuclear reactor generated electricity on a timeline phasing in by 2014 and completing replacement of all nuclear based capacity for electricity generation by 2034. Japan will call for a world technology conference to help lead the way to increasing, not eradicating, nuclear generated electricity in that western Pacific country.

    People will realize that a 1-degree global warming in the lower-48 has its counterpart already in an 8-degree warming inside the arctic; snow melt and ice melt in the arctic will continue its 6 year trend to set a yearly record, and meteorologists will be allowed to mention the tie between the arctic’s newly altered climate and the seasonal storm patterns at the lower latitudes.

    Both Western Antarctic and Greenland will show ice fissuring to new extents, and large sheets of ageold ice will lower into the ocean freefloating, instantly raising global coastal water tidelines 1′. While small nations struggle to compensate for minor losses of beach and risk to enclaves of only a few million people in 2013, the 2014 prediction for the beginning of a 15-year process of melting of the discharged ice from Greenland and West Antarctic will begin to appear to be a likely outcome, and industrial nations will hold a series of conferences on cooperation to adjust for anticipated 15′ increase in sealevel by 2060.

    Rio sees the oceanic encroachment as an opportunity for more recreation; New York City calls its own private planning conference to develop a sea-wall plan, but holds those conferences in executive session and plans to do little else until a full EIR is prepared by 2017. The Great Lakes noticeably begin to empty.

    The five-year farm bill survives, as it always does, because ‘5’ means both parties have to vote for it.

    Milk and gasoline in the US remain at constant rates. The president considers tariffs on imported meats.

  10. orionATL says:

    to continue with matters involving “our most famous living general”:

    i predict, based on publisher’s info leaked directly to me for this gossipy purpose,

    that there will be published in 2014 a sequel to paula broadwell’s biography of general petraeus – “all in…”

    according to sources not authorized to speak on the matter but doi g so any way to hype its publication,

    the sequel will be titled

    ” all out…”

    yet to be descided is whether this will be

    “all out – of ammunition”

    or

    “all out – of the pool”.

    a movie contract is being discussed.

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