Although the probability of any one of the predictions coming true is low, they are deduced strategically by Saxo Bank analysts based on a feasible - if unlikely - series of market and political events. As Saxo's chief economist notes, "This isn't meant to be a pessimistic outlook. This is about critical events that could lead to change - hopefully for the better. After all, looking back through history, all changes, good or bad, are made after moments of crisis after a comprehensive failure of the old way of doing things. As things are now, global wealth and income distribution remain hugely lopsided which also has to mean that significant change is more likely than ever due to unsustainable imbalances. 2014 could and should be the year in which a mandate for change not only becomes necessary, but is also implemented."
These Outrageous Predictions are not Saxo Bank's official calls for 2014, but rather an exercise in feeling out the major risks to capital preservation, and intended to encourage investors to prepare for the worst case scenario before trading or investing...
1. EU wealth tax heralds return of Soviet-style economy
Panicking at deflation and lack of growth, the EU Commission will impose wealth taxes for anyone with savings in excess of USD or EUR 100,000 in the name of removing inequality and to secure sufficient funds to create a "crisis buffer". It will be the final move towards a totalitarian European state and the low point for individual and property rights. The obvious trade is to buy hard assets and sell inflated intangible assets.
2. Anti-EU alliance will become the largest group in parliament
Following the European Parliamentary elections in May, a pan-European, anti-EU transnational alliance will become the largest group in parliament. The new European Parliament chooses an anti-EU chairman and the European heads of state and government fail to pick a president of the European Commission, sending Europe back into political and economic turmoil.
3. Tech's 'Fat Five' wake up to a nasty hangover in 2014
While the US information technology sector is trading about 15 percent below the current S&P 500 valuation, a small group of technology stocks are trading at a huge premium of about 700 percent above market valuation. These 'fat five' - Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, Pandora Media and Yelp - present a new bubble within an old bubble thanks to investors oversubscribing to rare growth scenarios in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
4. Desperate BoJ to delete government debt after USDJPY goes below 80
In 2014, the global recovery runs out of gas, sending risk assets down and forcing investors back into the yen with USDJPY dropping below 80. In desperation, the Bank of Japan simply deletes all of its government debt securities, a simple but untested accounting trick and the outcome of which will see a nerve-wracking journey into complete uncertainty and potentially a disaster with unknown side effects.
5. US deflation: coming to a town near you
Although indicators may suggest that the US economy is stronger, the housing market remains fragile and wage growth remains non-existent. With Congress scheduled to perform Act II of its "how to disrupt the US economy" charade in January, investment, employment and consumer confidence will once again suffer. This will push inflation down, not up, next year, and deflation will again top the FOMC agenda.
6. Quantitative easing goes all-in on mortgages