Chinese astrologers not bullish about Ox year

Chinese astrologers not bullish about Ox yearHong Kong - The Year of the Rat was not a good one for the world of finance and banking. Stock markets plummeted, property prices dived and businesses all over the world crumbled in the fall-out from the credit crunch.

This was to be expected, according to Chinese astrologer Raymond Lo, who points to the fact that the influencing element of the rat is water. And as every good Chinese astrologer knows water brings worries and provokes fears.

It was also a year without fire, the element believed to be the driving force behind money, rallying stock markets and the world of finance and banking.

The bad news is that there is no fire in this coming year, the Year of the Ox, either, says Lo, a Chinese astrologer and Feng Shui master in Hong Kong. This means we are unlikely to see the economy and money market bouncing back big time and that banking will continue to suffer.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Instead of water as an influencing element, this year does have yin earth which combined with the ox, itself an earth animal, makes
2009 a double earth year.

This double earth combination, is a much more harmonious influence that promises more stability and heralds a time of meditation and rebuilding and reconstruction, says Lo.

Stock markets will not be subjected to rapid fluctuations up or down but instead will become more stable and calm, bringing opportunities for long-term rather than short term investments.

The ox is the second sign of the 12 Chinese animal zodiac signs that operate in a 12-year cycle.

In addition to the animals, there are five basic elements - metal, water, wood, fire and earth - all of which play a part in influencing every year, month, day and hour. They also affect people's moods and shape the personalities of those born under their influence.

There is also the influence of yin and yang: the former being considered more feminine or like a garden and is said to exercise a tranquil, quieter, slower, cooler influence while the latter is its masculine opposite, like a mountain, aggressive, hot and fast.

"Being a pure earth year, means there should be no conflict. It's a time for rebuilding and reconstruction from the damage brought by war, natural disasters and financial tsunami of 2008," says Master Lo.

"The earth element is not as fearful as water but is meditation. Without fire, which brings optimism, investors will play it cool and conservative. As such it is still a year of cooling down but gaining more stability."

However, Lo predicts strong fire and wood seasonal influences in the spring could bring about a rally in stocks and property market although this is likely to be brief and an adjustment.

"A recovery may not come soon because the whole year is lacking fire. Banking is a considered a metal industry in Chinese astrology and it needs fire. Without fire, metal is useless because you need fire to melt it into useful tools."

However, 2010, the year of the tiger, looks more promising, says Lo, because the tiger is a wood sign which is considered a feeder of fire.

Coming after the first sign of the zodiac, Lo said the ox often brought about a phase of consolidation after the new beginning brought by the rat.

The last yin earth ox year was 60 years ago in 1949. This was a year when there was a settling down in world order, says Lo, with the birth of the People's Republic of China and the creation of NATO.

"It was still a time of confrontation between USSR and the West with the USSR testing their first atomic bomb in August 1949. However, it was still a year of no major conflicts between nations," he said.

Lo says the yin earth ox combination had also proved to be significant for the United States in the past. The signing of the Declaration of Independence and the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 all occurred on yin earth ox days.

President Barack Obama is also an ox, born on an yin earth day in 1961, which means he could prove to be significant to the United States.

He also shows the characteristic of yin earth ox, being moderate, peaceful, intellectual, charming charitable - and slim.

"People born on a yin earth ox day give you a feeling of harmony. They are charming, charismatic and humanitarian people.

"It is interesting to note George W Bush is a yin metal person and he became president in 2001 - a yin metal year that started eight years of turbulence.

"Let us hope Barack Obama will bring about the peaceful and healing qualities of Yin earth for the benefit of the world," said Lo. (dpa)