New Year’s Traditions and Prognostications

Another year has come and gone so quickly, and we dare say, it will feel like only 7  or 8 months more have gone by before we’re wishing you a “Happy 2016!”

But we get ahead of ourselves. 2015, in all its promise and mystery, still looms ahead. And as you plan your celebrations, have you considered smashing some dishes, or walking around with empty suitcases?

What, you ask? How does that square with sipping champagne and watching the ball drop in New York? Well, the dishes and suitcases are just two of the more unusual New Year customs from around the world. It’s in Denmark, where neighbors smash plates against each other’s doors. A bigger pile of shards means you are “luckier” in having more friends. The empty luggage is carted around the block in Columbia, to encourage travel in the new year. Among the other customs:

*Spanish Grapes: In Spain, people try to stuff up to 12 grapes in their mouth at once, for good luck.

*Toaster toss: In Johannesburg, South Africa, local folk toss old appliances out the window to “clear out the old” for the upcoming year. No word on the injury rate for passers-by for this custom, or whether items as large as washers or ‘fridges get thrown.

*Foot First in Scotland: The Scots have a tradition that one should be first over a friend’s threshold bearing gifts of food and whiskey, to insure prosperity for all, in the new year.

You can read about even more customs at the link above, but it’s also “customary” for investors, business-folk and consumers alike to try and guess where the economy is headed in the year to come.

According to an overview in the Christian Science Monitor, it’s headed to a pretty good place: The economy’s grown the most that is has in 11 years, lower gas prices are expected to put around $500 extra dollars in the average consumer’s pocket, and consumer optimism is at its highest in 8 years.

On the other hand, true prognosticators, according to The Guardian, will want to keep their eyes on 5 key years in 2015, to see how things will finally shake out.

These include seeing whether China can “mop up the credit excesses left behind after the growth-at-all-costs approach adopted during the deep downturn of late 2008…Growth will be lower in 2015: the question is how much lower.”

Other areas of concern are whether those low oil prices will affect economies — like Russia’s — dependent on higher prices, and whether recessions or depressions there can could have effects on global bond markets, imports and exports, etc.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., “if the economic data in the coming weeks and months continues to reflect a strengthening US economy, the Fed’s patience may wear thin,” in terms of whether to hold off on raising interest rates. “Expect market volatility when the central bank drops its cautious tone as it paves the way for the first rate rise since the great recession.”

So there will be plenty for us to write about here, and for you to read about in our weekly dispatches! And through it all, be sure that AVPS is there to help you stay ready for your customers, whether it’s the new year, the summer solstice, or any other time…

Meanwhile, a toast! Thanks for a great 52 weeks, and here’s to the next batch!

Happy New Year!

 

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