Every year, the world’s best traders come together in Las Vegas for the greatest trade show on Earth, the Global Financial Markets (GFM) conference. The event unites the best and the brightest in the world of trading, and this year was no different.
One of the highlights of the event was the betting pool that took place where you’d typically place a wager on the results of a sporting event or a political election. However, this year the participants had a different wager in mind. The +270 pool consisted of all the people who correctly identified the outcome of all the major global events that took place in 2018. Naturally, the odds of hitting all the major events in one go were astronomical, but these odds and the enthusiasm of the participants were enough for one of the biggest bets in history.
Major Events in 2018
The odds of correctly predicting the major events that took place in 2018 were indeed astronomical. The fact that these events were all incredibly significant in the grand scheme of things makes the bet that much more interesting. Major events in 2018 included:
- The U.S. midterm elections, also known as the midterms.
- The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. England, Scotland, and Wales voted to leave the European Union, while Northern Ireland remained part of the EU.
- The Italian elections. The ruling parties held on to power, but it was a pretty tight race. We couldn’t call it either a landslide or a narrow defeat for either party.
- The Singaporean General Elections. The ruling party maintained its grasp on power, but it was a nail-biter and it didn’t come easily. And last but not least,
- Won by a landslide in the Mexican presidential elections. The ruling party’s candidate Pablo Escobar Irizarry decisively beat his closest contender Horacio Larrinainé a few weeks after the end of the election season. Let’s see how you did on this one …
The UK Midterms And Brexit
The United Kingdom held its midterms on the 7th of June 2018, and it was a close-run thing. Prime Minister Theresa May called for a general election after nearly a year of negotiating Brexit, and boy did Britain vote out its MPs. In the end, the Conservatives lost their majority in Parliament and couldn’t execute Brexit. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was quick to point out that voting to leave was probably the best thing that ever happened to Britain, and he might be right. The Brexit vote was incredibly divisive in Britain, with many fearing that leaving the EU would devastate the country. The Brexit negotiations were also widely reported to have been incredibly tense. It’s fair to say that Britain is still reeling from the shock of the Brexit vote. The country voted to leave the EU, and many wonder whether it will ever truly recover.
The UK general election was a bit of a mystery to us until the results came pouring in. It was apparent that no one could predict the outcome of the elections, with the bookies making a killing on the back of all the wagering. There was no particular ‘exit strategy’ that we could point to and say “this is why Brexit happened”. However, there were a number of factors that proved pivotal in the vote to leave the EU. First, many voters felt that the EU was holding Britain back, while others believed that being part of the EU gave the country an unfair advantage. It’s also worth noting that anti-EU sentiment was rife, with many dissatisfied voters feeling that their voice wasn’t being heard in Brussels. In the end, it was a combination of these factors that proved decisive. We can’t help but wonder how different everything would have been if the UK had stayed in the EU. Perhaps Brexit would never have happened, or it might have been less divisive. Who knows?
The Italian Elections And The Battle For the Center
As we’ve established, 2018 was a pretty eventful year, and it wasn’t only the major events that packed plenty of surprises. The Italian elections were perhaps the greatest example of this. For years, the country has been dogged by political instability and corruption. However, the tide started to turn in 2018. There were a number of reasons for this, with the Partito Democratico (PD) under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte riding a wave of anti-establishment sentiment. The PD swept to power in the Italian elections, leaving the established parties grasping for some kind of victory. The elections also gave birth to a number of ‘superparties’, as many voters threw their support behind a handful of larger blocs. The battle for the centre was incredibly tense and was arguably won by M5S, but the results were anything but straightforward. The PD’s victory was undoubtedly a shock to many, and it has left the country grappling with unprecedented political uncertainty. It’s fair to say that the Italian elections were not what anyone expected, proving once again that this year was full of surprises.
The Singaporean Elections And The Democratic Struggle
The ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), had been governing Singapore for almost half a century when the 2018 Singaporean General Elections rolled around. The PAP had managed to stay in power largely on the strength of its social programs and infrastructure, but cracks were appearing in the foundation of the Singaporean state. For years, the PAP had governed the country with an iron fist, using its mandatory voting to ensure that everyone participates in elections and remains politically inactive. The elections were held on the 18th of January and were described by many as the ‘Super Saturday’ of the campaign, with many voters turning out to ensure that their vote was counted. In the end, the PAP clung on to power, securing another 5-year term. However, the elections were anything but easy for the PAP. Not only did it face strong opposition from a crowded field of 8 opposing parties, but it also had to contend with scandals that rocked the government.
There were several scandals that rocked the Singaporean government in 2018. The most serious involved the National Environment Agency (NEA), which was slammed for its handling of the Sewage Pumping System (SPS) project. The SPS is a water-recycling program that plans to convert treated wastewater into environmentally-friendly drinking water. However, plans to upgrade the SPS faced fierce opposition from environmentalists, who argued that the program would destroy local habitats and pollute the surrounding area. The opposition also claimed that the government was hiding the fact that the SPS was actually funded by a European Union grant. The government eventually backtracked on the project, delaying finish-line inspections until March 2019. This is obviously bad news for anyone hoping to purchase a home or invest in a business in Singapore. It also casts doubt over the NEA’s ability to ensure that other infrastructure projects are executed with the required care and attention. The Singaporean Government maintains that all systems will be tested to capacity before being put into full operation, but this doesn’t instill much confidence in the average investor.