It’s that time of year again.
Time to get out the crystal ball and tell you precisely what is going to happen in the next 12 months.
Here are 15 predictions for 2024.
Remember the rules of the game: I score 2 points for a direct hit, 1 for a good call, zero for a miss and minus one for a “David Lammy on Mastermind” fail. As I do every year, I shall come back and mark my homework next December.
New years are fairly arbitrary things. January 1st rarely marks an actual turning point. Trends that were trends in the autumn and winter tend to continue into January, February and beyond, until they dissipate and run out of steam.
There are occasional dramatic events, but life is mostly a gradual process. It’s only when you jump back or forward 12 months that things look so different. This time last year the S&P500 was struggling to the point that many saw a meltdown coming. We got no such thing - in fact, quite the opposite. The stock market rose 25% in one of its best years ever.
20 years ago, if you could step forward and see, I don’t know, the state of our institutions, or the demographics of your capital city, you’d risk having some kind of cerebral haemorrhage. Change is gradual, it is the incremental effects of tiny change compounded over time that are so formidable.
We’ll start, however, with an ongoing gradual process that I don’t see reversing in 2024.
1. The Great Decline goes on.
It may not feel like it in this Great Decline, but life generally, believe it or not, is getting steadily better, at least from a technological point of view.
But technology is subject to the improving forces of competition and free markets, our systems of government are not. They are from a different era and should be obsolete, but they persist. They are not improving but stultifying.
The prediction: everywhere the state’s tentacles reach remains a drain on productivity. Our once great institutions continue to fall apart, like zombie meth addicts, stumbling towards dysfunction. (I’m going to write a song called Nothing Works Anymore). The New Woke Religions of Climate Change, the NHS and White=Bad endure, exhausting resources and minds. The ordinary worker desperately trying to improve his lot is bled dry by taxes, inflation, housing costs and the voracious state monster. Fiat loses yet more of its purchasing power. The South Africanisation of everything continues.
2. Gold to new highs. $2,400 here we come.
It’s not all bad, however. This is a good year for the anti-fiat trades. Gold breaks out. Finally.
3. Bitcoin goes to new highs as well.
The barrier that is the all-time high at $69,000 falls. The ETF, the halving, the money printers and the tech itself all play their part. If there is one thing bitcoin has taught me, it is never to underestimate how high it can go.
4. But ethereum, for reasons that escape me, outperforms bitcoin.
I wrote what is generally agreed to be one of the first books about crypto. But the industry has moved so fast, I am mostly baffled by it. What are most of these coins actually for? But one observation I have made is that ethereum always seems to move later in the cycle, and by more. Why should this time be different?
5. The US dollar trends sideways.
The US dollar has been trending sideways for over a year now, frustrating bull and bear alike. It should be lower. I’m in the US at the moment and it feels very expensive: food is almost twice as expensive as in the UK, I’d say. But the dollar is the best house in a bad fiat neighbourhood. Prediction: it continues to range-trade.
6. Sterling has problems.
According to my eight year cycle of the pound - something in which I am steadily losing confidence - this should be the year the pound hits rock bottom. What is the catalyst? Gilt issues, perhaps. Unsustainable deficits. Something political is another likely answer, given this is an election year. On which note …
7. The Tories are eviscerated.
They had their chance and they blew it. Come the General Election this year, the voters are unforgiving. Few vote Tory. But voters also know that Labour is just as bad, so Labour does not win by anything as much as it should. There are lots of protest votes and no votes. The SNP is similarly annihilated. The shortcomings of our political system are there for all to see. But nothing that needs to changes. (See prediction one)
8. Uranium keeps on going up.
There’s a supply squeeze. We have been warning about it. Regime change in Russia could fix it. Don’t see that happening. Taking out the old highs at $140/lb is not so impossible. But let’s aim low to avoid disappointment. Uranium hits $125/lb in 2024.
9. Fast and processed food companies have problems
The food industry has got two problems on its hands. One is the weight loss drugs, the most famous example of which is Ozempic. A lot of people are taking it and that means a lot of people are eating a lot less. Two is the rise of anti-seed-oil narratives. More and more studies are showing the link between seed oils and obesity, cancer and other modern illnesses. This narrative is spreading. At some point the mainstream will start regurgitating it. There could be legal suits.
West-centric fast and processed food companies have a problem on their hands. Those that market into developing markets less so, as they will continue to have that outlet. Timing the short will be everything.
10. A good year for the Japanese yen.
It’s as cheap as it’s been for a very long time. That’s something that reverses in 2024. My pick of the forex trades, for reasons of Frisby’s Flux, is long the yen against the pound, but there are opportunities against the dollar too.
11. The S&P500 has an decent year
But nothing like the year it had in 2023. We see gains somewhere close to 10%, perhaps a little bit below.
12. Smallcaps make a welcome return
After several years of underperformance, small caps start to outperform large again.
13. House prices
The UK housing market is caught between a rock and a hard place. It stays there. Atrophy and stagnation, many sellers refusing to reduce prices, buyers reluctant to pay up, lots of gazundering. But no meltdown yet.
14. Tears of the moon keep on crying.
Can silver stage a meaningful rally above $30 in 2024? Nope. It’s silver.
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15. Liverpool win the league.
Finally your Bruce-y Bonus sports prediction. Liverpool win the league, Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton all go down.
Thanks very much for reading and supporting the Flying Frisby. Have a wonderful 2024!
If you have not seen my lecture with funny bits about gold, we have two more dates in London lined up for Feb 14 and 15. Please come.
And I am taking my musical comedy show, An Evening of Curious Songs, on a mini tour in the spring with dates in London, Somerset, Hampshire, Surrey and Essex. This is a really fun show.
Here are the dates and places.
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