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Five things in January that should get 2020 going

By Amanda Cooper

Here are five major events to watch out for to kickstart the new decade

Whether you follow politics avidly, or if you keep track of every tick of the financial markets, or if you’re a bit of a gadget-geek, there is something for everyone in January.

US/China trade deal

After nearly two years of billions of dollars in tit-for-tat tariffs that have prompted a slowdown in global economic growth and no small degree of angst on the financial markets, Washington and Beijing will sit down in early January and sign a “phase-one” agreement on trade. Under the agreement, the US will cut a 15 per cent tariff on $120bn Chinese goods that came into effect on Sept 1 to 7.5 per cent, while China has committed to increasing its purchases of US goods and services by at least $200bn over the coming two years. US trade representative Robert Lighthizer told CNBC earlier this month the signing would be at a ministerial level and would not include US President Donald Trump or China’s Xi Jinping.

When and where: early January, Washington

Brexit

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on January 31, after which it will start talks over anything from trade, to transport and from fisheries to food standards. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a hard deadline of December 31 2020 to make good on his “get Brexit done” election pledge. But politicians on both sides of the English Channel have expressed concern that this is too short a timeframe in which to complete such massive negotiations.

When and where: January 31, United Kingdom

The World Economic Forum

Every year, the world’s billionaires, leaders and no small number of celebrities from the showbiz world congregate in the Swiss ski resort of Davos in helicopters and limousines for the WEF’s annual meeting. This year, addressing climate change and the environment is at the top of the agenda for the WEF’s 50th get-together. Naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain’s Prince William and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern were just a few of the big names to attend the 2019 event.

When and where: January 21-24, Davos-Klosters

Santa rallies and New Year's slides

Whether or not you believe in Santa Claus, every year investors look forward to the “Santa Claus Rally”. The stock market tends to rally through the final weeks of December and often into the New Year, fuelled by a combination of book-squaring and often optimism that holiday shopping will give retailers (and, by definition, GDP) a big boost. Will it happen again this year, as equity markets have hit record highs? Or will stock investors be keen to take profit? Since 1999, the S&P has risen 15 times in December and has only fallen on six occasions, including this year’s 3.5 per cent rise. The odds for a January rally look pretty decent. In eight of the past 20 years, so nearly half of the time, when the S&P has gained in December, it has carried that rally through January as well. On only five occasions has a December rally fizzled into a January flop.

When and where: the New York Stock Exchange, Dec 1 2019 to Jan 31 2020

Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

The world’s biggest consumer electronics show takes place at the start of the year. Gadgets, mobile phones and even space-age-like vehicles take centre stage at this annual gathering of geeks. Some of the big themes this year, according to Forbes.com, will be the 5G revolution, connected and autonomous vehicles, reboots for virtual- and augmented-reality headsets and of course, devices, devices, devices.

When and where: January 7-10, Las Vegas, Nevada

FURTHER READING: 16 unlikely cryptocurrency predictions for 2020

FURTHER READING: Gold price predictions for 2020 and beyond

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