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Predictions for 2016 #finance

We can never be sure what the future will hold, but I think this will be the year when inflation starts to creep up again. Competition in many areas such as the supermarkets was fierce in 2015. The oil companies had to compete too with a glut of oil and that is seeing producers with higher costs disappearing. The world economy has seen tight money and increasing competition.

Oil

As well as inflation increasing, we are likely to see an interest rate rise in the UK following the rise in the United States. I can see oil prices falling, oil is being shorted and so it is likely to fall further, but the turnaround in the oil price will come eventually and so some oil companies could be a good investment. I like some of the smaller companies that are producing by conventional methods rather than fracking.

Supermarkets

The supermarket price war is seeing changing strategies by the big four chains. They will have to retrain staff and compete on service as well as the prices of the essentials. We could see one of the big four disappear, but which one?

Housing

We have a housing crisis in the UK and so we need some new ideas to solve that crisis. The idea of building up has been tried with high rise blocks in the 60’s and it was a failure. Those blocks were too basic, but there might be a market for apartments that people can actually live in and have a great view, good maintenance. We need  homes that appreciate in value rather than becoming high-rise slums. Homes that use less land could be the next generation of homes to buy rather than social housing. High rise apartments that are roomy and overlooking the countryside or a park could be part of the answer to the housing crisis.

Local government

Local government has to change and it could find a new role training young people. Some non-essential functions of local government could be taken over by community associations who could run parks, libraries and leisure with local government oversight.

Police, fire and ambulance.

We could see the emergency services change in 2016. The police can make more use of technology and become more efficient. Digital cameras now allow more remote monitoring of public places. Technology could make the job of the fire service more efficient too. It is difficult for the ambulance service to become more efficient, but it must change. Paramedic units might work more closely with the police service and fire service, so they have a base closer to hot spots they regularly attend. A 999 centre close to a motorway shared by all three services might be the future.

Investments

What should we invest in 2016? I am still invested in Solo Oil and if the oil price falls further that could further delay the development of their new wells. However, I think Solo Oil could be one to soar if the oil price begins to rise. The stock market is picking up a little and Premier Foods looks like making a come back in 2016. The price of Monitise shares was trashed in 2015, but they too are creeping back up. Monitise could soar too with a large bank as a partner. There are many takeover targets in the market and that includes some of the supermarket chains. RSA insurance was approached last year and I can see another possible bidder this year. Tesco looks really cheap now and so despite their size, a merger or acquisition isn’t out of the question.

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