Alex Brummer, who has worked as City Editor of the Daily Mail since 2000, where he writes a financial column, gave his take on the direction of the economy for 2015. He wrote in the Jewish Chronicle that “the biggest known unknown” is the direction of oil prices, which have dipped below $60 a barrel.
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While Anglo-Saxon economies, namely American and British, have been holding up well, Japan and the eurozone have seen economic instability. He noted the insecurity about the economy has added fuel to the fire of xenophobia, including anti-semitism, on the Continent. Israel’s economy was disrupted by Operation Protective Edge in Gaza this summer and the uncertainty of the coming elections, but Brummer is confident that Israel’s strength as a startup factory will see it through. The property market will continue to be under pressure because of buying from Europeans, especially French. Brummer thinks Israel’s trade with the U.K., which increased 28% in 2014 will continue to be strong.
Brummer wrote an article in the Daily Mail about the possibly dim future of BBC and iTV in the face of competition from paid television. Studios are now finding it more profitable to make video series distributed on Pay TV. He also cited a poll that found cinema going among those 12 to 24 has declined 15% in the past year. The result will be more consolidation among traditional media companies as well as telecom, says Brummer. This follows on the heels of Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable and AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV. It is possible that 21st Century Fox might yet purchase Time Warner’s movie and production segment, although the initial offer was turned down.
Both the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England are likely to raise rates in 2015. Concerning the U.K Elections, Brummer sees a minority Tory government and huge gains for Scottish Nationalists.
2015 might see Putin’s revenge in the form of intentionally defaulting on Western debts as a retaliation for sanctions. The hardest hit in Europe could be the French bank, Societe Generale. Brummer thinks oil prices will continue to be low, and many countries and companies will forced to cut production.
While Brummer admitted that trying to predict the direction of the stock market is a “mug’s game, ” low bond yields worldwide still make stocks an attractive investment.