Wednesday 06 Dec 2023
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This article first appeared in Capital, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on February 1, 2021 - February 7, 2021

An alternative forecast for the Hang Seng Index in 2021


PACK it up, rats! Welcome to the year of the Metal Ox and our 27th annual Feng Shui guide. The second animal in the Chinese horoscope’s 12-year cycle, the last time the Ox showed its horns was in 2009 after the global financial crisis. We are hopeful this faithful beast of burden will pull us out of a slump once again.

Our alternative forecast methodology is based on the interplay of the Bazi, or destiny chart, and the Nov 24, 1969, birth date of our favourite Earth Rooster, the Hang Seng Index. Using a monthly fortune scale, we focus on the pattern, direction and relative size when making our predictions.

The famed Bronze Ox from Beijing’s Summer Palace is a great regulator, and easily controls the flow of water and capital through Hong Kong. This is the final year of water coursing through the Feng Shui universe before earth dries it up — there is money to be made, but don’t be swept away by sudden streams of foolish investment. This year will bring some setbacks, but such waves will pass as quickly as they rise.

Sitting pretty on the Ox’s back are Rooster, Snake and Monkey, who will have a smooth and fortuitous year. Towards the back are Rat, Rabbit, Dog and Pig who, along with Ox, can expect satisfactory fortunes. While Dragon and Horse will need to steer clear of cow patties, they’ll be able to keep their claws and hooves dry. Unfortunately, Tiger and Goat will have to work hard to stay afloat. Fear not, our online Feng Shui zodiac guide offers advice as to how you can improve your luck and avoid danger.

The stable, strong and uncomplaining Ox would have been first in the Chinese zodiac were it not for the cunning of the Rat, who hitched a ride and then won the race by a whisker. Being so close, the changing of the year usually happens without substantive disturbances. As it happens, when our Earth Rooster meets the Metal Ox, the earth produces metal and nourishes it, so there is no conflict. Our hidden wealth sign has fire in it and that’s not especially friendly to the metal in the chart (it melts it), though it may help out the earthen Hang Seng. The money is there, just not as abundant as in years past.

Bazi: Interplay determines our forecasts

In Feng Shui, the four pillars of destiny (the year, month, day and hour) comprise eight characters, hence the name Bazi. Each of the pillars is described by the two cycles that have characterised Chinese ways of telling time for the past three millennia. They are the 10 heavenly stems and the 12 earthly branches. When you place those two cycles side by side, they repeat at intervals of 60, which means you return to the beginning of the sequence. The new year, for Feng Shui purposes, is different from the Chinese New Year, which strictly follows the phases of the moon.

For 2021, the year begins at precisely 22:59 on Feb 3, when the heavenly stem is xin ¨¯ and the earthly branch is chou ¤¡. That’s achingly close to the 11pm changeover to the next combination of two-hourly stems and branches, so predictions are a little softer. Each stem and branch is associated with one of the five elements (water, fire, metal, wood and earth), and also with either yin or yang. That gives us the chart for the year, and we compare that against our Hang Seng Rooster’s natal chart for Nov 24, 1969.

Elementary analysis

In Chinese philosophy, the five elements provide a basic framework to understand relationships. Each year, wood, fire, earth, metal and water dance around each other, some ruling throughout, others bursting out for a month or so. A Feng Shui master will assess the relative strengths of each element at any given time. We apply Feng Shui theory to the markets by assigning certain industries to each element to determine their general trajectory. Portfolios perform best when the elements are equally weighted, so you can adjust your investments to get the best possible results. Remember, wood fuels fire; fire makes earth; metal comes from the earth and produces water, a fundamental ingredient for life. Conversely, water puts out fire; fire melts metal, making it weak; metal can cut through wood; and wood overcomes earth as roots grow down into the soil; and earth overcomes water.

WOOD: Earth may be your mother, but for all the nutrients she’s giving you this year, metal is going to come along and chop them down. The year should begin well, especially for those going back to study, and allied industries. There’s a quiet patch in the spring before the best period of the year in early summer. At that time, expect anything that has relied on spring growth to flourish: medicine, clothing and even religious artefacts.

FIRE: Metal holds no fear for fire-related industries, but they may spend too much time and energy on turning ore to slag this year. Late spring and late summer should be the two best periods for many industries and professions, from makeup and toys to beauty treatments, plastic surgery and psychologists. Expect a weak end to the year, but a pick-up in the one to follow for oil and telecommunications.

EARTH: The Ox may be of the very earth itself, yet its energies are going to be spent on drying up water and producing metal. Expect industries such as construction to muddle through without flourishing. When wood, which draws energy from the earth, is weak during the latter part of the year, we could see timely improvements in fields such as rare stones, leather work and ceramics.

Metal is running through the chart this year, under the direction of water. It may weaken a little from late spring to late summer as more fire enters, but should return to good form once the fire dies off around the Mid-Autumn Festival. Expect lawyers, the courts and conflict resolution companies to flourish. Banks and other financial institutions will do well. Appraisers from auction houses and private concerns will also be fully engaged.

WATER: This is the final year in which water will pour through the chart. There’ll be some restraint on the flow with the Ox being attached to the earth, which soaks up water. But water produces metal and there’s a lot of metal crying out to be made. Spring and late autumn look like the best periods for water-related industries. Travel and transport will rise later in the year, while logistics, shipping and trade should be well in place through the spring.

Bull in the China shop

The last time the Ox showed its horns was in 2009 after the global financial crisis. Once again, the faithful Ox has come to pull our favourite Earth Rooster, the Hang Seng Index, out of a slump. Summer and winter are the best periods, with gains and losses in other months.

Reading our forecast is relatively simple. We adopt Li Chun,Feb 4, as the traditional spring start to the year, and use a fortune scale to indicate the relative size of the Hang Seng’s likely movement each month.

The year should start well, as industrious Rat’s hard work will carry over into the Ox year. It will be sometime in March before everyone realises the Ox has been sleeping on the job. In the late spring, these two zodiacs will resolve their issues and the Ox will rouse itself and get to work. During summer, the living is more than easy and the Ox will plough through financial fields day and night. We expect this rally to peak around August, and the autumn harvest will see profit-taking as well as a short, sharp decline caused by the conflict between two of the 12 earthly branches. After a modest drop, the remainder of the year will see a slow recovery and then a strong final push through winter’s end.

Our Earth Rooster has the White Tiger star this year, which may lead to issues arising from structural uncertainties. However, any damage will be minimal as assistance from the court via the Salary and Merit star is available. Although weak, the Golden Cabinet star is also present and could see stocks associated with data collection and other valuable information repositories flourish.

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