Ebullient analysts predict markets will weather the storm in 2021

Some forecasters, buoyed by the success of big tech and vaccines, are predicting 10‑15% gains

The new year is traditionally a time for looking forwards, for hopeful resolutions, for celebrating. But for economists and investors, the annual forecasts for 2021 might be something of a painful reminder of exactly how much they failed to foresee.

The pandemic quickly made a mockery of all projections. An entertaining analysis of US chief executives’ statements during 2020 by data company Sentieo for the New York Times showed a 70,000% year-on-year rise in the use of “unprecedented”, while “humbled” tripled – perhaps code for “it wasn’t my fault, so you should still pay me the same”. To be fair, though, in March it really did feel like nobody had a clue what to do – even governments, who are meant to have “pandemic” firmly on their risk radars.

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