Yes, it's that time of year when thoughts turn to what the new year might bring.
Despite George Eliot's admonition, "among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous", here are a few speculations about 2014.
After two years of sluggish economic expansion, world growth is likely to improve to exceed three per cent (at market exchange rates). There will be five pillars for this enhanced performance.
The US economy will once again demonstrate its resilience and flexibility and grow around three per cent despite extremely fractious domestic politics over fiscal and other policies.
Belying some doubters, China will continue to grow at above seven per cent, an astonishing performance for a $9-trillion economy (compared to $16 trillion for the US, $17 trillion for the European Union and $6 trillion for Japan).
The Shinzo Abe policy-fuelled recovery in Japan will continue at around two per cent.
The strong performance of North Asia will buoy the Southeast Asian economies, with Asean-5 (Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam) expanding at near six per cent.
The resurgence of sub-Saharan Africa will gather steam, with economic growth around six per cent.
On the downside, the giant European economy will remain weighed down by high levels of public debt, banking problems, painful austerity programmes and the constraints of the single currency in the euro area. Overall growth may barely touch one per cent.
World growth will be strengthened by the improving energy balance in the US (thanks to the revolution in shale oil and gas, international oil prices might dip below $100/bbl for the first time in four years), and the exceptionally loose monetary policies of the US, Europe and Japan.
World trade will recover from the doldrums of the past two years and expand faster than five per cent, helped by the recent World Trade Organisation accord at Bali.
The long-feared "taper" in the US Federal Reserve's quantitative easing will come and cause some turbulence in capital and currency markets, but without stalling global growth.
Text: Shankar Acharya, Business Standard