I inadvertently left off an item regarding trade wars that I intended to mention in Mish 2012 Predictions; 2011 Year in Review with Max Keiser. I also have some commentary on the US election, precious metals, and energy.
Expect Global Trade Wars: Look for tit-for-tat trade wars to heat up in 2012 as noted previously in China to Impose Anti-Dumping Duties on GM; “Fair Trade” Idea is Self-Serving Scam; Proposal to Stop “Free Sunlight” Gains Support From Mitt Romney. Should Mitt Romney win the election, expect global trade to collapse in 2013. Trade wars will not be good for equity prices.
US Political Roadmap: If President Obama dumps Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential candidate as Robert Reich suggests in My Political Prediction for 2012: It’s Obama-Clinton, Obama will win re-election unless the Republican candidate is specifically Ron Paul. Clearly this is not an endorsement of Obama, it is a prediction. Some mistook my 2008 prediction for Obama as an endorsement. It wasn’t. I wrote in Ron Paul in 2008 and will do so again unless he is the nominee. If Ron Paul is the Republican nominee I think Paul would draw enough crossover votes from independents and Democrats who are sick of war and big government to win. If it’s Obama-Biden vs. Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney then it’s too close to call.
Oil is a wildcard. My prediction is cooler heads prevail. However, the election is 11 months away and that is a lot of time for someone to get carried away. The odds the US initiates an attack on Iran under Ron Paul are virtually zero. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for any of the other major candidates. Should the US or Israel attack Iran (I do not believe the US will), then the price of crude will quickly skyrocket by $50 or more. Such an oil shock would immediately send the entire global economy into a severe recession.
Precious Metals Roadmap: What follows is more of an approach than a prediction. Gold remains a much safer play than silver, something I have said for years. Technically silver is flirting with a breakdown of major support at $27. If that low does not hold, a decline to the low-to-mid $20’s is likely (something I said earlier this year when silver was near $50). I have no target for gold. The longer the US holds off quantitative easing and the ECB lets the sovereign debt crisis simmer without action, the bigger the potential drop in precious metals. Moreover, silver is likely to take a bigger hit than gold (percentage-wise) in a recession or global slowdown because silver is an industrial commodity and Chinese demand for industrial commodities is poised to plunge. Both gold and silver are more likely to be weaker earlier in the year as opposed to the second half given the Bernanke Fed does not look to launch QE3 any time soon. If the stock market and energy prices plunge in the first half of 2012, Bernanke will be more inclined to launch another QE program and that would be beneficial to precious metals.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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