Five surprises for 2024

As we near the end of 2023, Head of Franklin Institute Stephen Dover reviews how his forecasts for the year panned out and shares the themes his team is watching out for in 2024.

Originally published in Stephen Dover’s LinkedIn Newsletter Global Market Perspectives. Follow Stephen Dover on LinkedIn where he posts his thoughts and comments as well as his Global Market Perspectives newsletter.

Following our year-end tradition, we bid farewell to 2023 and look toward 2024 by reviewing how our surprises for 2023 panned out and by offering what might surprise us in the year ahead. Our aim is to provoke thought by suggesting possible—occasionally even improbable—outcomes that could shift the narrative and performance of markets in 2024.

We would also like to acknowledge the influence of notable investor Byron Wien, and his well-known “Ten Surprises” annual forecast, on our attempts to see into the future. While we lost him in 2023, his inspiration will live on.

Looking back at 2023

Our brief review of last year’s newsletter reveals a few we nailed, and some where we mostly hammered our thumbs.

We anticipated that blockchain would go mainstream. Judging by some of the most headline-grabbing events in the world of cryptocurrency, including Sam Bankman-Fried’s conviction or the heavy fines levied against the crypto platform Binance, it would be easy to conclude that we got it all wrong. Yet behind the scenes, blockchain technology continues to advance, making strides in finance and elsewhere. Central banks continue to explore ways of using the technology to issue digital currencies, and blockchain is making inroads in areas such as logistics. If anything, the past year demonstrated something we’ve always believed, namely that blockchain is not synonymous with cryptocurrencies—it is far bigger than that.