A surf around global media sites can make for some interesting reading at the start of a new year, particularly if you are curious about what commentators have to say about the next 12 months.
Commentators, generally speaking, have expertise and knowledge in specific areas, which lends weight to their thoughts about what lies ahead.
After an entirely unscientific analysis following a broad and loose sweep across various media in the past few days, here is what the majority of some commentators think is the answer to a selection of important questions.
Will Donald Trump become US president, again?
No. The prediction I expect most New Zealanders would want to be proved correct.
But [there’s always a but] – assuming the legal hurdles Trump must first overcome to be able to even stand in Colorado and Maine – his campaign against Joe Biden will be the nastiest presidential election in United States history. It’s hard to think which election campaign is the nastiest to date, but it probably involved Trump.
Most commentators believe the election will be very close and that Trump will be criminally convicted in at least one of his four trials before the election, and will then present it as political persecution. No prizes for picking that strategy, should a conviction hold.
Will 2024 be the hottest year on record?
Yes. A clear majority pick this outcome.
Scorching heat extremes peppered 2023. It will almost certainly prove to be the hottest in 174 years of climate records, once the final numbers are in. It might not be the hottest on record in New Zealand, but it could easily be in the top five.
Scientists expect this year to be warmer, in part because last year’s heat was given a bit of extra spice by the El Nino climate pattern. This typically has the biggest effect on global temperatures after it peaks, which is not expected to happen till later this month. Prepare for bbq bans in the very near future.
Will the Israel-Hamas war trigger a regional conflict?
No. Although you can find enough commentary to the contrary to make you nervous that it might. The war has sparked violence across the region involving Iranian-backed militant groups. The biggest concern is that recent border clashes between Hezbollah from Lebanon, and the Israeli military, might spiral into a conflict between the two. Let’s face it, there is no easy solution here.
Will the US economy have a soft landing?
Yes, but no one was brave enough to commit to more than a short-term forecast. Inflation has drifted and growth has remained stronger than most economists expected. What happens in the US economy has an impact on every other Western economy in the world, including ours. Our political leaders want a soft landing and one in America helps our chances.
Will the US and the EU keep funding Ukraine?
Yes. For now. As Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion stalled in late 2023, military and financial support for Kyiv became a contentious issue on both sides of the Atlantic. However, most are of the view that the Biden Administration is determined to keep supplies flowing.
Will X go bankrupt?
Yes. Those in the know say X’s advertising is tanking and attempts to create new sources of revenue are falling flat.