It is that time of year when I either look like the wisest man in the world, or make a complete fool of myself. Rather like a football goalkeeper facing a penalty, I have to decide which way to dive. If I chose correctly, I am a hero. If not, I am lying in the mud looking stupid while the crowd cheers all around me. It is the time for 2017 predictions. Maybe the football analogy is not entirely appropriate. The keeper has a simple choice – left or right – while events in the business world are multi-directional. They can be influenced by a thousand different factors, from global economies down to individual caprice. Did you hear the sound of that butterfly’s wings beating in China? That will be the Fed raising interest rates for the fourth time in the next 12 months. (That is not a prediction, by the way, but is a possibility. In the Donald Trump-era US, almost anything is possible.) Here, in no particular order of probability, are some forecasts for the coming year. 1. For the first time in the history of the eurozone, its currency will be the same value as a dollar. I think I am on safe ground with this one, because last week the euro was worth just five cents more than the unstoppable US greenback. It looks certain to hit parity in the next month or two. Some analysts think this does not matter, or even hail it as a good thing, because it means exports from the EU countries will be cheaper and therefore more attractive. But many others see it as a bell tolling for the end of the great European experiment in monetary, economic and political unity. For the dollar-pegged Middle East, it is a mixed blessing, mainly because of the inverse relationship between the strength of the dollar and the price of oil. 2. Whatever the dollar does, the price of crude will struggle to go much beyond $60 a barrel. Again, I am pretty confident of this one, with the proviso that geopolitical events – regional conflict, meltdown of a major producer like Venezuela – could change the upside. But the economics of global energy suggest a 2017 ceiling about $5 higher than it is now. At that level, the US shale producers, unfettered by the new president’s policies, will be able to pump the stuff in serious quantities again. But it is not such a bad thing to have some stability in the oil market, given the delicate fiscal calculations of policymakers in the major exporters in the Middle East. 3. President Trump’s business relationship with the Middle East will make big headlines. I am certain this will be the case, but am not entirely sure what kind of news the new POTUS will generate. In the UAE, for example, he has a longstanding business partnership with the property developer Damac. In the face of domestic political pressure, he has already downsized other foreign ventures, in Azerbaijan and Brazil, and might concede in the UAE too. But if he does halt the partnership with Damac, it might not be such bad news for the UAE real estate group. Hussain Sajwani, Damac’s chairman and owner, has made it clear he sees big business opportunities in a Trump-run US. 4. There will be change at the top of the Gulf’s big airlines. In the UAE, both Etihad and Emirates face challenges largely brought about by their own success. Their spectacular growth – and that of the Qatar and Turkish flag-carriers – has changed the shape of the global aviation business, but with softer demand they face pressing issues of overcapacity. Etihad has already signaled it is cutting its workforce. Its president and chief executive, James Hogan, has nearly completed 10 years in the job, and must surely be willing to declare “mission accomplished.” At Emirates, President Sir Tim Clark is also thought to be considering a change of role. 5. Members of the Al-Gosaibi family, and their bitter foe Maan Al-Sanea, will be able to journey outside Saudi Arabia for the first time in eight years. They have been the victims of a travel ban imposed in 2009 as a result of the biggest financial scandal ever to hit the region, the collapse of their businesses amid $20 billion worth of allegations of fraud, forgery and theft. The Al-Gosaibis, largely thanks to the efforts of their restructurer-in-chief Simon Charlton, have reached a deal with creditors to repay some of their debts. If Mr. Al-Sanea can do the same, more than 20 members of the extended family will get their passports back. Maybe this year they will be back in the Swiss Alps for the festive season.