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Watch out for the Snake Year's bite
Publication Date : 10-02-2013
Simmering tensions may arise at any time, global economy may be in peril: feng shui experts
Many consider the snake to be a "mini dragon", but astrologers warn that the slithery serpent could cause even more trouble than the dragon did last year.
The fact that we have to contend with the sinister-sounding Black Water Snake should be warning enough of perils ahead.
Picture the way a snake captures its prey. It is a symbol of long-simmering tensions hidden under a calm surface that could suddenly strike at any time, notes Jenny Ng, the principal consultant of Feng Shui Connection.
And what this means is that more trouble is brewing for the global economy.
"When the feng shui chart is plotted onto the globe, it shows that the 'Naughty Star', which signifies loss, disaster and hidden issues, is in the centre of the earth this year, where Europe is," she says.
"I suspect the European governments are now hiding a lot of issues related to their debt crisis, and we can expect a lot of these issues to erupt in public this year."
Further west, in the United States, the news is just as bad: "The violent star is in the west, so expect a lot of conflicts there," she adds.
Vincent Koh, the founder of the Singapore Feng Shui Centre, notes that the snake is also known as a "philosophical animal", which can be manipulative and strategic to get what it wants.
So this will be a year with many twists and turns, he says, and investors should navigate with care.
"Use this year to contemplate, plan ahead and strategise, but do not hastily jump into actions."
Feng shui master Lynn Yap agrees. Her outlook report forecasts that the year will be dominated by two opposing symbols, water and fire, which means the next 12 months will be marked by instability and tough choices for investors.
Amid all this gloom, brokerage CLSA stands out as a rare optimist. In its annual Feng Shui Index, a tongue-in-cheek look at what the stars have in store for Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, CLSA analysts write: "We're more upbeat than most about this Fire/Water Snake - or its potential at least.
"We can't help but like the waves of water, as it usually represents wealth in feng shui. And unlike last year, there's also a decent amount of fire - regarded as wealth for the Hang Seng."
More specifically, CLSA says, it sees a resources-led rally for the Hang Seng starting from the second quarter.
It adds that governments and central banks throughout much of the world will pursue either financial repression or programmes to cope with the collateral damage, thus "giving investors the opportunity to book what some see as a relatively low-risk ride, with robust returns".
What will do well
Water-related sectors are likely to prosper, especially in the first and last quarters of the year, says Koh.
These include the transport, tourism, shipping and logistics sectors.
Wood-related industries, such as education and fashion, will also fare quite well, adds Ng.
So will industries represented by fire, which include IT, entertainment, hospitality, and food and beverage.
It will be a wet and cold year, Koh says, what with a Black Water Snake ruling over us all, so the world's economic recovery will depend on fire industries.
He adds: "The entertainment industry will still flourish as people are in the mood to enjoy some romantic and fun activities."
Natural resources and mining, overall, will be stable and relatively good, he says, noting that gold and precious metal prices will stabilise this year.
CLSA agrees: "Gold dazzles its way through US$2,500 per ounce, silver polishes off US$50 per ounce and uranium goes code-red hot."
What will be weak
All the feng shui experts agree that sectors represented by the metal element, namely banking and finance, will not perform well this year.
In fact, their predictions of gloom extend even to people who work in these sectors.
"Do not make hasty moves if you are in this industry," Koh warns.
The US dollar and the euro will continue to weaken too, the experts add.
"The global market will still revolve around Eastern countries and emerging economies," Koh says.
Ng adds: "This year, the negative stars enter the US and Europe, hence expect more violence and other hidden problems to be triggered, and this will affect their economies, hence the currencies will weaken."
According to CLSA, meanwhile, US municipal and corporate bonds will be "the next bubble to burst".
The quandary over property
The feng shui masters disagree over the earth element, which primarily represents property and construction.
The share prices of earth stocks will rise the most this year, says Yap.
The overall property market in Singapore will still continue to gain strength, albeit slowly, says Koh.
"Since earth is still in demand, housing supply will not be able to meet the market demand, thus contributing to the stable price increase."
Ng has a more sombre outlook.
She believes that earth-related stocks will be among the weaker performers this year, and that property prices could begin to slide.
"According the chart, there will be an oversupply of property in the second half of the year," she says.
"In the first half of the year, the market will still be in a balancing act as it reacts to the recent property cooling measures, but by the second half, the market will slow down."