So long, 2014. The year ended with oil prices cut in half, Vladimir Putin facing a shrinking wallet, North Korea waging cyber-war on Hollywood, ISIS controlling large stretches of Syria and Iraq, the U.S. economy picking up steam, Europe facing a triple-dip recession, the Earth’s climate changing faster than attitudes about climate change, and Keystone XL still as unbuilt as ever. So, what do the next 365 days have in store?
The Globe and Mail editorial board’s crack team of professional oddsmakers are now ready to make book on the likelihood of various events occurring in 2015.
Let’s start in Ottawa:
Probability of a federal election in 2015: 100 per cent
Probability of an early election in the spring: 32 per cent
Probability of a majority government: 41 per cent
Of a minority: 59 per cent
Of a constitutional crisis, involving the Governor-General, over who gets to form the government: 17 per cent
Probability that someone other than Stephen Harper will lead the Conservatives into the election: 5 per cent
Next, Russia. The collapse in the ruble has been a disaster. It cushions the blow of falling oil prices but makes the Russian private sector’s large foreign-currency debts unbearably heavy.
Probability of a Russian recession: 100 per cent
Probability of Moscow bailing out multiple private businesses and banks: 100 per cent
Probability of the Kremlin defaulting on its debts: 24 per cent
Probability of significant contagion to the global banking system: 21 per cent
Odds of Mr. Putin attempting to take his people’s minds off all of this by further destabilizing Ukraine and/or another neighbouring country: 76 per cent
In other petro-state news, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline between Alberta and the U.S. Gulf Coast remains all over the U.S. political map – and nowhere on the actual map.
Probability of the Republican-controlled Congress passing a bill approving Keystone XL in 2015: 94 per cent
Probability of President Barack Obama vetoing it: 89 per cent
Probability of the Obama administration approving Keystone before the end of 2015: 29 per cent
Probability of Congress overriding a presidential veto: 9 per cent
Meanwhile in the Middle East:
Probability that Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS) will control less territory a year from now: 88 per cent
Probability that Bashar al-Assad ends the year as president of Syria: 87 per cent
Probability that Canadian CF-18s will still be operating in Iraq in December: 44 per cent
Probability of ISIS capturing Baghdad: 11 per cent
Probability of an attack, somewhere in the Western world, by someone claiming to have been inspired by ISIS: 100 per cent
Climate change negotiations are building up to a December summit in Paris. Where will they lead?
Probability of a global agreement on greenhouse gases being reached this year: 94 per cent
Probability it will be enough to keep the global temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius this century, the goal of UN negotiations: 8 per cent
Then there’s the economy. The U.S. appears to be strengthening, but Japan is weak, China has shown signs of slowing and Europe is near-stagnant. And Canada is perched between the drag of lower oil prices and stimulus from a stronger U.S. and a weaker loonie.
Probability of the Bank of Canada raising interest rates before summer: 19 per cent
By December: 47 per cent
Probability of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates before summer: 14 per cent
By December: 38 per cent
Probability of the Eurozone slipping into recession: 61 per cent
Probability that the West Texas Intermediate crude oil benchmark will end the year above $60 (U.S.): 59 per cent
Finally, North Korea and Kim Jong-un ended 2014 by teaching the world, and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., lessons in hacking, asymmetric warfare and film criticism. What does 2015 hold?
Probability of another major company being hit by a serious cyber-attack: 100 per cent
Probability of The Interview receiving a general cinematic release: 43 per cent
Probability of it grossing more than $200 million in North American theatres: 31 per cent
Probability of an Academy Award for Best Picture: 0 per centReport Typo/Error
Follow us on Twitter: