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It will be another volatile year for the markets

Making predictions about the year ahead is an exercise that more often that not results in the author ending up looking pretty foolish. The last few years have proved that even some of the best minds on the planet have a pretty poor record in plotting the future.

On the other hand, this does mean that mere mortals such as myself have as much chance of getting it right as anyone else. So here goes....

China will keep on growing at eight per cent or better. Beijing will continue to do whatever it can to stimulate the economy and will in the process further inflate the country's property bubble. This won't burst until 2012, the year Shanghai unveils the world's new tallest building eclipsing Dubai's Burj tower, which opens today.

US stocks will outperform emerging markets catching out many fund managers in the process. The Shenzhen index has certainly delivered this year but as America returns to growth its now highly efficient company's will produce stellar profits.

The Bank of England will leave rates on hold for the whole of 2010. This as a new Tory government slashes spending and savages the public
sector cost base. Despite sterling offering little in the way of yield, the pound will surge as investors applaud London's determination to fix the country's balance sheet.

The eurozone will suffer a crisis of confidence as Greece teeters on the edge of a debt default. However, rather than riding to the rescue, Berlin forces Athens into the arms of the IMF. As a result, like the Bank of England, the ECB will have little choice but to keep borrowing costs at ultra low levels but unlike the pound the euro will weaken sharply.

Geopolitics will be a bigger part of the risk equation in 2010 as Iran undergoes a bloody regime change. As a worried world watches events unfold the price of oil will briefly spike back above $150 but will quickly fall back to around $80 as the situation in Iran stabilises.

The year ahead is likely to be a bumpy one.

Indeed, the only thing that investors can bet on is that 2010 will prove to be another extremely volatile year.