Predictions for 2017

Gerald Celente’s picks for the year ahead

What will 2017 bring? One man who has a pretty good idea is trends forecaster Gerald Celente of the US-based Trends Research Institute.

While Celente may shoot from the lip during his popular YouTube videos, Celente and his team of researchers have built up quite a record of predicting future events, not least the crash of 2008.

The firm produces a quarterly magazine, issues monthly online forecasts and a daily video on trends in the news.

Last week Celente released his forecast for the year; key take-aways include a growth in nostalgia products, the end of Silicon Valley, virtual-reality education, the end of daily newspapers and marijuana-based food and drink.

China

Celente writes that although the great rush to China by manufacturers and luxury retail marketers has slowed, and many businesses chafe at high investment barriers that hinder foreign companies, the Sell-Buy China trend remains strong.

“Overall, foreign direct investment in China increased 4.2 percent during 2016’s first 10 months, compared to 2015,” he says.

“Chinese investors are buying Hollywood studios while Beijing eases restrictions on the amount of foreign films shown on the mainland. And as China’s economy advances and its standard of living increases, its taste for fine wines to fine foods will continue to expand.

“Across the investment spectrum, China buys what it can’t make or needs more of. From robotic firms to real estate, from farmland to pig farms, from Cape Point in South Africa to Cape Horn in Chile.”

He says despite government attempts by Germany, the US, Australia and other countries passing laws to slow China down — and despite Chinese government restrictions on currency outflows — the China buying binge may be slowed, but it will not be stopped.

He also says that while President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to kill The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal when he takes office, China has proposed the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. It would strengthen its influence and nations, including Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia have expressed support.

Automation

Celente predicts a technological wave will sweep the globe this year that will trigger an “historic, rapid transformation of how societies live, work and play”. And ultimately send Silicon Valley to the scrap yard.

He says artificial-intelligence software will progressively eliminate the need for people to perform thousands of tasks.

“With dramatic frequency, service-sector jobs will fall to technology,” he says. “That’ll be followed by middle-management positions being eliminated across the retail spectrum. Customer-service functions and assembly-line work will shrink as well.

“On education and skills-training fronts, Rust Belt 2.0 explodes, giving rise to the first generation of virtual-reality education. Curriculums will take off in medicine, information technology, accounting, cybersecurity and other fields.

“Automation also finds its way into the public sector. Citizens, with increasing frequency, will be able to access records  through virtual-reality-assisted technology.

“Investment in artificial intelligence, deep learning, robotics, virtual reality and chip technology is powering Rust Belt 2.0 to levels that will greatly and quickly surpass the dot.com boom of the 1990s.”

Interest rates

Celente writes that as US interest rates rise this year  and the US dollar gets stronger, emerging-market currencies will weaken.

“That, in turn, will dramatically increase their debt-repayment burden and increase financial market instability,” he says.

“In developed nations, cheap money boosted equity markets with record-breaking merger-and-acquisition and stock-buyback activity. As interest rates rise, and the cost of borrowing increases, true price discovery and market fundamentals will drive the markets.

“A stronger dollar will continue to push down gold prices. We forecast gold prices will rebound when global financial market volatility and increasing geopolitical unrest escalate. Therefore, gold will remain a long-term safe-haven asset.”

Daily newspapers

“Over the years, more expedient media — radio, TV, cable and now digital outlets — and a far less patient audience whacked newspapers’ laborious printing processes that accommodated tedious layers of fact-checking, editor scrutiny and other exercises in thoughtfulness,” writes Celente.

Expect dramatic shifts to begin early in 2017, he says. National and metro newspapers, as well as smaller newspapers, will aggressively cut space for news to save costs.

“Print-publication frequency will reduce. The daily newspaper — as we know it today as something you hold in your hand — will fade.

“Investigative and in-depth reporting will become even more scant. That will leave the door wide open for unprofessional, poorly resourced and purely biased media to produce shoddy, untrustworthy reporting disguised as legitimate and in-depth. The truth will be harder to find.

“And when upstart or existing alternative-news sites begin to make news, the mainstream media will label it ‘fake news’.”

The ontrendpreneur

Cutting-edge, creative professionals will be increasingly positioned to identify high-potential opportunities in the shifting, tech-dominated economy, says Celente.

“Nothing can stem the tide of these powerful tech and merger-and-acquisition trends, but the gaps they leave behind will provide significant opportunity. In the years ahead, a unique type of ontrend-preneur can emerge.

“They will understand the value of the personal touch and be on trend to stand apart from a merger, acquisition and automation culture driven only by the bottom line.”

Cashless society

While the complete transition to a cashless world will take a decade or more to complete, digital transactions will become more dominant in 2017.

Celente says technologies and companies that accelerate and facilitate digital currencies will grow in demand.

“And privacy concerns will grow as well,” he says. “In this new cashless society, financial and even governmental institutions — not you — have custody of your cash. Every purchase you make, and where and when, draw a profile over time of your preferences, habits, needs and interests.

“The cashless movement, which empowers corporate giants and accelerates government control over your money and privacy, continues unabated. The transition to a cashless society is cemented.”

Marijuana food

Celente says that with growing popular support for marijuana legalization, he forecasts a promising financial future for manufacturers and sellers of pot.

“In particular, we forecast sharp growth in food- and beverage-infused marijuana products,” he says. “These are becoming easier to produce at wider profit margins, are growing in popularity and are more easily branded and marketed, appealing to consumers put off by pot as a smoking product.

“Further, as retail outlets grow, so does the need for the equipment and training to produce the products. That’s another ripe investment area.”

Nostalgia

Nostalgia will play a big part in people’s lives, says Celente.

“Among the most obvious is music. The sounds of today provides but one glaring example of a major market niche to be filled by retrofitted sounds and styles that once prevailed,” he writes.

“It’d be choosing a time they never lived in, but one that fills a nostalgic desire. Similarly, in nations across the world suffering from socioeconomic unrest and dim prospects for the future, any product/service remix of the past that entails a sense of the ‘good old days’ will achieve wide consumer appeal.”

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