Year of the rabbit brings a welcome inactivity to markets
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Opinion

Year of the rabbit brings a welcome inactivity to markets

It’s the time of year for feng shui market predictions.

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Chinese New Year falls early this year, so already we have the annual clutch of reports attempting to apply feng shui principles to market behaviour.

CLSA has long been the gold standard in this respect, a light-hearted tradition that appears to have survived the rather less light-hearted osmosis of the Hong Kong brokerage by Citic Securities. But this year we highlight a noble 32-page effort from Malaysia’s Maybank.

Chinese astrology is about much more than ‘year of the rabbit’, as the coming year is known. There are also all sorts of interplay between elements to consider, in this case, yin water over yin wood; and the positioning of various stars.

But let’s not pretend any of us understand all that. What we want to know is: what does this mean for markets?

Maybank, guided by feng shui master Ken Koh, says that “the water rabbit year brings a sense of calm and stability to markets”, which means that interest rates will stabilize, adding confidence to stock markets, especially after May. The rabbit may also bring geopolitical calm to the West and the South China Sea.

Remarkable exactitude

Singapore, “symbolic of the Wood element” (no, we don’t know why either), benefits not only from the supporting elements of water and wood but the relative closure of Hong Kong and China, and the political uncertainty of Malaysia, Maybank says, all boosting the city state’s position as the preferred destination for wealthy individuals.

Hong Kong will open up, but there won’t be much in the way of immediate growth of performance because “the rabbit year is synonymous with inactivity”.

With remarkable exactitude, the rabbit will prompt strong performance in Indonesian financial markets between May and September, while the US will benefit by virtue of it being a metal element (again, don’t ask us), causing “US equities and stocks” (sic) to gain traction in June and peak in August, with a month-long disruption following from October 7.

Looking further afield, we are about to transition from affiliation to the earth element, to the fire element, which apparently is to the benefit of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and alternative power, among other things. One might suggest the fire element came a bit early, in 2020, before being thoroughly drenched in 2022, but these are long-term 20-year cycles, so let’s not be fugacious about it.

The conclusion of it all is strikingly sedate. “This year brings inactivity and slow actualization,” Maybank says. “Do less and achieve more is the key to success.” Words to live by.

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