2012 was a year when politics at times trumped economic fundamentals, from worries about a break-up of the euro zone to anxiety about U.S. budget policy. In 2013, security concerns may do the same thing.
In the Middle East, the U.S. and Israel are on a potential collision course with Iran over that country’s nuclear program - - a clash that could roil oil markets throughout the year. The region also is racked by fighting in Syria that threatens to escalate and spread the longer it goes on. In Asia, a still-unresolved territorial dispute between China and Japan already has undercut trade ties, hurt companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and contributed to Japan falling back into recession.