Beware the Year of the Horse with its wood, wind and fire

We are now into the Year of the Horse, and everyone is wondering what it holds in store for Asian economies – will they run like thoroughbreds or are they headed for the knacker’s yard?

At this time of year, many Chinese people turn to geomancers to find out what the year will bring, and the general drift of opinions among the astrological experts is that the Year of the Horse will be a pretty unstable one.

Chinese astrology, such as feng shui, which means wind and water, works on the principle that events are decided by the balances in the five elements that compose the universe – metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

The characteristics of the Year of Horse are the elements wood and fire, which is apparently not a positive sign, and we should sit tight in the saddle. We are in for a combative year.


The wood and fire combination could lead to an "explosion", feng shui master, Ma Lai-wah, told the South China Morning Post, and "the economic bubble might burst, and the impact will last for a while". On the upside, Ma believes that it would lead to more affordable property prices in Hong Kong.

Feng shui
The brokerage CLSA publishes an annual outlook based on feng shui,which this year was entitled: "Tired stock horse fit for the glue factory? Or fiery Mustang Seng set to giddy-up up up?"

The CLSA report was bullish, or perhaps stallion-ish is more apt, in its forecasts for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, believing it should rise to 28,105 points in the Horse Year. It’s currently trade around 22,000 points, so this represents a serious gallop.

"We conclude that this Pony is un toro in toto – pure bull from teeth to tail. Its fortune chart may not be the best balanced, but it is full of Fire – the intrinsic element that's widely regarded as the driver of investor sentiment," the brokerage wrote.

"This is especially so for the Hang Seng Index, as Fire is also its 'lucky element'. We uncovered so many unexpected connections, coincidences and links between the HSI and this Wood Horse that we discern a definite Casablanca connection – 'the beginning of a beautiful friendship'. And one that should be very rewarding," it said.

Hong Kong celebrity astrologer Alion Yeo predicts a lot of scandals and arguments in the Year of the Horse.

"It's a year of war between China and the US, and China and places like Europe. It's not necessarily a physical war, but war in trade and the economy," said Yeo.

“The economy will go up and down, it will be a volatile year. And the global economy except China will remain stale, I don’t see any sign of recovery,” Yeo told AFP TV.

He also fears that the regional dispute between China and Japan over the disputed island chain in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, could escalate this year and this would affect regional economies.

Previous Horse years include 1894, which witnessed the start of the first Sino-Japanese war, and 1954, the year of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu which ended with the defeat of France by the Vietnamese.

Geomancer Lai Hon-fai believes that wood-related sectors will flourish, “including culture, education, agriculture, lumber and media”.

“Property won’t do well as it is associated with earth, which is conquered by wood, so Hong Kong’s housing prices will be adjusted downward slowly this year,” Lai said.