The World in 2015: Daniel Franklin’s top 12 predictions

The World in Gala Dinner evening, inspired by The Economist’s annual The World In… publication, returned to Sydney last night. Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist and Editor of ‘The World In…’, shares his annual collection of forecasts for the year ahead.

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The centre piece of The World In 2015 Gala Dinner was Daniel’s Dozen: the top 12 predictions from Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist and Editor of The World In

Among the main predictions of The World in 2015, the annual collection or forecasts on the year ahead from The Economist are:

Economic growth: The fastest-growing economy in the world in 2015 will be Papua New Guinea, where GDP will expand by nearly 15%. China will drop its growth target to 7% (from 7.5%). Overall, global growth will be higher in 2015 (3.8%) than in 2014 (3.2%).

Interest rates: In the United States and Britain, where growth is relatively robust and unemployment is coming down, interests rates will start to rise in 2015, ending a long period of ultra-low rates. In the euro zone and Japan, by contrast, central banks will continue to ease monetary policy, to battle against deflation. The diverging paths of the main central banks will lead to more volatility in equity, bond and currency markets.

Statistical landmarks: It will be a year of striking “crossovers”, as America overtakes Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer, China overtakes America to become the world’s biggest economy (measured at purchasing-power parity) and Facebook overtakes China in terms of its “population” (1.4 billion active monthly users).

Elections: Britain will have another hung parliament after its general election in May, with David Cameron probably remaining prime minister. But Canada’s leadership is likely to change hands in an October election, with the Liberals’ Justin Trudeau taking the helm.

The environment: a deal of sorts will emerge from the Paris summit in December 2015. Hydrogen-powered cars will hit the road, as Toyota and Honda launch the first mass-market fuel-cell models. And Australia will be in the global spotlight as the UN decides whether the Great Barrier Reef should be put on the endangered list.

Business: Singapore tops the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global business environment rankings for 2015. Watch out for Xiaomi, a Chinese mobile-phone maker, as it continues its meteoric rise and goes global. And expect a welcome return, at least in some places, to the nine-to-five culture in the workplace.

Technology: “Wearable” technology will be all the rage, thanks to the launch of the Apple Watch and other devices. Virtual-reality firms will overcome the cost and technology problems that have prevented their products from becoming mass-market hits. And mobile phones will become mind-readers, thanks to “anticipatory computing”, which enables them to trawl their users’ data to predict what information they will need.

Sport: Australia will win the cricket World Cup, New Zealand will win the rugby World Cup and the United States will win the women’s football World Cup.

Space: America’s New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Pluto, after a journey of nearly nine years – maybe igniting a campaign to reinstate Pluto as a fully fledged planet from its current “dwarf” status.

Personalities’ predictions: Bill Gates predicts a surge of popular support behind policies that can help save children’s lives around the world. Hillary Clinton predicts new data will help persuade the world to promote greater opportunities for women. Mary Barra of GM predicts that intelligent technologies are about to transform driving. Illusionist David Blaine predicts that magicians will flourish even in an age when most tricks can be Googled in seconds on a smart phone.

NAB was recently privileged to sponsor The Economist’s spectacular The World In 2015 event. It was an evening of surprises, unexpected insights and dramatic revelations about the year ahead.