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Brace for a rough ride in 2014

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 10:48 PM January 31, 2014

Brace yourselves for a rough ride.

The Year of the Wooden Horse, which began last Friday, will be bumpy, at least in the first few months, according to a feng shui expert.

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Geomancer Andy Tan said that in Oriental tradition, the Year of the Wooden Horse has always been viewed as challenging, and this year will be no different.

“This horse is like a stallion that has not been ridden yet,” he said. “It doesn’t want to be ridden, so the first six months [of this year] will be very volatile.”

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Tan—who has been practicing feng shui and consulting for major real estate developments for over two decades—said the volatility of the Year of the Wooden Horse would be felt in business and politics, both here and abroad.

“The general attitude will be quite erratic in the first half,” he said, adding that, as early as today, a cursory glance at the business headlines would indicate that a rough ride is coming for businessmen, especially those whose businesses are affected by the gyrations of the financial markets.

Less liquidity

Tan pointed out that the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year coincided with recent developments in the United States, where the Federal Reserve had decided to slowly reduce the amount of liquidity it pumped into the economy each month.

The reduction in liquidity would result in higher interest rates around the world, the expectation of which is already felt through higher volatility in some emerging markets.

“This will be very, very challenging,” Tan said, explaining that the reduction in the liquidity pumped by the US central bank into the global economy would filter down to the Philippines, likely resulting in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raising its own interest rates, to the detriment of businesses that rely on loans for their day-to-day operations.

“This is when the horse will start to buck,” Tan said.

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He pointed out that the volatility in the business and economic spheres would be most pronounced in the first three months of the Year of the Wooden Horse, but would likely start to stabilize by May.

According to Tan’s explanation of Chinese astrological tradition, the world goes through a three-year cycle that determines which hemisphere is more—or less—auspicious at any given period.

“For 2011 to 2013, the northeast and northwest [parts of the world] were the best [in luck],” he said. “But for this year, it’s southwest and southeast.”

Challenging for rats

The Year of the Horse, he said, is especially challenging for those born in the Year of the Rat, because the rat and the horse signs sit diametrically opposed to each other in the Chinese astrological calendar.

Interestingly, Tan pointed out that most of the country’s top political leaders were born in Year of the Rat.

“President Aquino is a metal rat,” he said. “Then formerly, the head of the Senate was JPE (Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile) who is a wooden rat. The Speaker of the House, Sonny Belmonte, is also a rat, a fire rat. And finally, Chief Justice [Maria Lourdes] Sereno is a metal rat.”

Vice President Jejomar Binay, he said, was born in the Year of the Water Horse.

This presents a challenging situation for Binay because he is surrounded by rats in high government office, and horses and rats have traditionally not coexisted well in Chinese astrological traditions.

Lucky businesses

Tan predicted that the businesses that would do well this year were those that are “close to the earth,” given that the current horse year would be ruled by the element of wood.

“Agriculture would be good, along with construction and real estate,” he said. “There’s no [real estate] bubble, and [even if there is], it will not burst.”

Other businesses that according to Tan will also progress this year are those involved in remittances and manufacturing.

The banking and insurance sectors will find the Year of the Wooden Horse difficult. So will the oil and energy sectors, he said.

“But things will become smoother by the second half, until 2015, as I foresee it,” Tan said.

And despite the general apprehension about the Year of the Wooden Horse among Oriental astrology cognoscenti, Tan predicted that the Philippines would emerge from the turbulence relatively unscathed.

Now that’s good news.

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TAGS: Business, economic challenges, volatility, Year of the Wooden Horse
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