Here's our Highly-Placed Professionals view of how 2010 is likely to turn out.
The only prediction that I was spot on the money for this year was one involving Goldman Sachs. I predicted that Goldman, as usual, would emerge from the financial crisis in good shape, and make tons of money. Nevertheless, that's not going to stop me having a crack at some crystal ball gazing for 2010.
So here goes:
Credit markets will hold their ground this year, although there will be serious concerns about the BRIC and Emerging regions, given the events in Dubai and a feeling that there are plenty of hidden speed bumps to come.
On the subject of major market hiccups, I look to Greece and Ireland to pose huge problems for the market next year. The cat is out of the bag, and EU countries that are now effectively bankrupt will have a really tough time of it (if ever the ECB starts to squeeze the proverbial pips). It seems to me that the market readily forgives those that are 'too big to fail', but won't let a few token minnows get away with it.
Next year will be a nightmare of doubt, delusion, drama and doom. The big bucks were made by many in 2009, but 2010 will be a year of hard graft for the industry.
Be in no doubt that we will see a pretty big Conservative majority. I really can't see how Labour, who merrily leveraged up the UK and then were held to ransom by the banks, can come up with anything of interest for the weary electorate between now and May. It's simply time for a change. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, of course, will wait until le dernier moment to pull the trigger. He can't be in much doubt, though, that his days are numbered, so he may as well enjoy pontificating on the global stage while there's anyone still bothered enough to listen to what he has to say.
The World Cup
But first a quick rant about climate change. What a joke! All we have learned is that no-one cares that much about this subject, and indeed many remain a bit dubious about the planet's newly warmed status in any case. Of course, there are people in power that care, but mainly about how to make money out of this problem, or gain influence because of it.
Luckily we won't have a Copenhagenesque event for a while now, and people will rightly be much more interested in the 2010 World Cup. Despite Capo Capello, however, I see England getting no further than the quarter-finals (as usual). But at least we won't have to spend time assessing the various merits of the WAGS, and can actually focus on pure football for a change. And Sir David Beckham next year ? Possibly. And that would mean Lady Posh too.
The City Jobs Market.
I am not a buyer that 2010 will be a dream market for those wanting to move firms. Every year I and many others are reduced to a state of near disbelief that we are still in the game, gainfully employed and even dreaming of a white bonus, I mean Christmas. Many banks are going back to continental Europe or closing operations here. The bank bonus tax clearly hasn't helped, because it demonstrates the fickle relationship between the UK government and the City. Nope, no jobs bonanza in 2010, I'm afraid. New jobs will be as hard to come by as bank profits.
(Ed's comment - I also think it highly unlikely (despite the whispers on City trading floors), that Gordon will have high-level talks with Robert Mugabe next year to compare notes on how to stay in power in a country you have bankrupted and whose population now despise you. Even Mugabe wouldn't stoop that low).