Mea Culpa: Expert clairvoyants and other good guessers

John Rentoul on questions of usage and style in last week’s Independent

Saturday 12 September 2020 23:18
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Warning: the value of your investment – or indeed that of your prediction – can go up or down
Warning: the value of your investment – or indeed that of your prediction – can go up or down

In a report on the pound’s fall on currency markets caused by the increasing chance of the failure of EU trade talks, we said: “Experts warned that the pound could drop to as low as $1.20 if the prospect of a no-deal exit becomes more likely over the coming weeks.” 

The identity of some of these “experts” became clear in the next few paragraphs, in which we quoted a fund manager and a currency analyst, who had some interesting thoughts about the psychology of traders.  

The problem is that no one is really an “expert” at predicting the future. Some people are able to make better-informed guesses than others, but even people who know a lot about foreign exchange markets tend to be little better than a chimpanzee with a dartboard in getting the future right.  

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