Not only will month-to-month changes in activity and policy be watched closely, but efforts to deal with excessive corporate and local-government leverage and an oversupplied housing market will also simmer, Goldman said. It expects China's economic growth will slow to 6-7 percent over the next couple years.
Healthier emerging markets
Other emerging markets will enter 2015 in better health compared with last year, Goldman said in another theme
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"External imbalances have improved in several countries, with India, Thailand and Chile among the stand-outs. And the disinflationary impulse from lower international food and oil prices is driving headline emerging market inflation lower everywhere," it said, adding local-currency emerging market bonds will likely perform well.
But it also expects more polarization within the segment between countries addressing macroeconomic imbalances as well as those on the "right side" of the oil import/export divide.
The other four themes?
There's lowflation and efforts to battle it, especially in the Eurozone, Goldman said, citing the effects of quantitative easing by the Bank of Japan and potentially the European Central Bank.
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Expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve's first rate hike will come relatively later than sooner will also remain a key market theme, it said, citing its expectations it won't come until September of next year. But it added it expects the Fed will raise rates faster than much of the market expects.
Another key theme is "the Great Re-Moderation," it said, with market volatility likely to remain low, it said.
The last theme? Living in a low-return world.
"Many asset prices are priced to offer low absolute rates of return over the coming years," Goldman said, expecting equity multiples will remain above average and possibly move even higher. "Upside may be less compelling than it has been, and our forecasts are for relatively modest nominal returns outside Japan and parts of emerging markets."
—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1