Special Feature
Welcome to the Year of the Metal Rat
Welcome to the Year of the Metal Rat<br/>喜迎金鼠

A year ago, we warned that choppy waters were ahead as the Year of the Pig arrived. Three years of water dominance began last year but fire continued to linger, creating conflict between these two opposing elements. And Chinese astrologers also suggested that an unforeseen event could be on the horizon. We asked our feng sui masters what they expect to see as the Year of the Rat unfolds in 2020.


Economic outlook

Strong water dominance in the Year of the Rat is good news for the economy and stock markets, as the conflict seen in the Year of the Pig should start to die down. While markets may fall in the early part of this year, they should recover and stay healthy until towards the end of 2021.

This is the Year of the Metal Rat, so, perhaps unsurprisingly, fung shui experts believe that metals will be the strongest sector for investors, whether actual precious metals or associated industries like machinery or steelmaking. Water industries – such as travel and logistics – will benefit from the dominance of the water element. This also applies to sectors that can be described as fluid, such as banking and finance. 

On the other hand, the outlook is not so good for wood and fire elements, so investors should not expect to make a great deal from sectors involved with paper, textiles or energy.

The property market will remain active as ever in Hong Kong, but high property prices mean that investing in real estate in the Year of the Rat will not make anyone a lot of money. Buying a property to live in should not carry much risk, however. 

The Rat zodiac is also associated with strong and happy relationships of all kinds, from romance to temporary friendships. Could this mean an improvement in the social atmosphere over the next year? This is the outcome that perhaps would most benefit our local economy throughout the Year of the Rat.


Rats of the past

Previous Rat Years have seen a number of significant events for Hong Kong. Of course, the most recent Year of the Rat will not be forgotten by any businessperson who lived through it, as the Global Financial Crash really gathered steam. The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 was a signature event of this worldwide crisis. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index plummeted and property prices dropped. 

Hong Kong’s final full year under British colonial rule, 1996, was also a Rat year, when Tung Chee-hwa was selected to become Hong Kong’s first Chief Executive after the handover. 

Twelve years earlier, in 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in Beijing, laying out how Hong Kong would be governed under “one country, two systems” after the handover. Meanwhile, Britain was being rocked by a year-long strike by miners protesting against the closure of mines and the loss of thousands of jobs. In India, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards. She was the country’s first female prime minister. 

Going back to 1972, Hong Kong was in the headlines for tragic reasons. Following heavy rainfall, a number of landslides took place that destroyed numerous buildings, including luxury residential towers and squatter camps. Around 150 people lost their lives. 

On a more positive note, the first Cross-harbour Tunnel was opened in 1972, allowing people to travel to and from Hong Kong island without getting on a boat. This was also the year that the Small House Policy was introduced, a measure unique to the situation in Hong Kong, and which continues to this day despite questions about its fairness.

A number of notable scientific achievements also took place in Rat years. In 1996, Dolly the cloned sheep was introduced to the world, and IBM’s Deep Blue was the first computer to win a game against a world champion when it defeated Gary Kasparov. 

1972 was the year that saw the introduction of both the first digital watch and the first pocket scientific calculator. In popular culture, 1972’s Fist of Fury cemented Bruce Lee’s international star status and boosted the awareness of Asian martial arts around the world. 


Personal Rat forecast 

Those born in the Year of the Rat are offending the presiding god this year, which may affect their relationships. Younger Rats may feel emotionally unstable and restless, while older people are more likely to feel pessimistic and find themselves thinking about the worst outcome. There may be changes ahead – in jobs, relationships or lifestyle. But while this may mean upheaval for some Rats, for others it will be joyful events such as a new job or welcoming a new baby.


Personal Forecasts for the Year of the Rat

Rat (1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020)

Essentially charming. Compassionate. Renowned for thrift and love of family. Rather superficial at times.

People born in the Year of the Rat will be offending the presiding god this year, so they may suffer from worse-case-scenario thinking – particularly those born in 1984. The good news is that they have the Jin Gui – or chest of gold – star in their constellation, so may have good wealth luck. The influence of last year’s Xian Chi star of temporary relationships will linger for a few months, so there is still time to take advantage. These short-term friendships could turn into long-term romance. 

Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)

Calm, patient, studied character. Takes things slow, steady pace. Is rather dictatorial but very industrious.

In union with the presiding god this year, people born in the Year of the Ox are not likely to change jobs or relationships. This stability is good for married Oxen, but single ones will need to be patient as there will not be much romantic action this year. A stable life also means they should remain successful at work without having to try too hard. They may also experience help from male figures, whether bosses, relatives or perhaps even junior colleagues. 

Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)

Very warm, loving. Independent-minded. Pays scant regard to others when pursuing fun and freedom.

Tigers should pack their suitcases as 2020 could be a year of travel. This may mean a lot of overseas trips, but it could also refer to moving around within the same city. Those in a relationship should ensure that this travel does not upset their partner too much. This year could also be a good time to take up something new such as study or investing. These activities will involve an initial outlay, so Tigers should keep an eye on cash flow this year.

Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)

Very sensitive soul. Discreet but quietly ambitious. Self-indulgent.

Hong Luan, the positive star of relationships, is in Rabbits’ constellation, giving them good luck in all personal connections. Married people will remain content while single Rabbits will have good love luck, but they must make the effort to meet people. Rabbits are also torturing the presiding god, but Hong Luan is powerful enough to cancel out any backstabbing problems. 2020 could be a good year to start a new business or learn new skills.

Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)

Charismatic and colourful. Wants to be centre of attention. Very arrogant, lucky and successful.

Many Dragons may have got married or started a new romance under last year’s Hong Luan influence, which will remain for a few more months. Union with the presiding god will keep these relationships happy throughout the Year of the Rat. Dragons could be victims of gossip this year, but they will naturally feel sluggish and will avoid arguments. Despite not being inclined to work too hard, some Dragons may be promoted.

Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)

High moral principles, mostly when applied to others. Sophisticated and charming. More than meets the eye.

Hard work is ahead for people born in the Year of the Snake. This is good news for entrepreneurs who will enjoy more business success, but may be frustrating for ordinary employees who will not see their diligence rewarded. Snakes experienced some upheaval last year, which may not settle down for a few months more. But for the rest of 2020, life – including romantic aspects – should be more stable. Snakes should be careful with money, especially when lending to friends.

Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)

Confident and proud, but prone to erratic behaviour. Heart is in right place. Can be flighty and emotional.

Conflict with the presiding god this year will have different results depending on when people were born in the Year of the Horse. Those born in Spring and Summer will find that debate will help resolve their problems. But Autumn and Winter babies should avoid conflict as it may make the situation worse. There are likely to be changes ahead, such as a house move, which will also be expensive. Changes to lifestyle could also mean a marriage, baby – or divorce. 

Goat (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)

Sensitive, creative and multi-talented. Eccentric. Has much fortitude. Loves to be loved, hates to be pushed.

Poking the presiding god means that Goats may suffer from gossip and backstabbers this year, but not to a serious extent. They will also enjoy the support of friends and may have some short-lived romance. Careers are not likely to take off for those born in the Year of the Goat, so they can afford to relax a little bit for now, especially as they will be on good terms with the people they meet. 

Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)

Wily and cunning. Ignores regimented rules. Free spirit. Loves movement and change. Can be rather selfish.

This will be a good year for Monkeys to climb the career and social ladder. Wage earners should see promotions and pay rises, while this is a good time for business owners to build a reputation within their industry. Monkeys are in union with the presiding god, so they will be on good terms with people. This will lead to an increase in social events, however, Monkeys should also watch their diet!

Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)

Brave and enthusiastic. Notoriously picky. Highly intelligent. Rarely has wool pulled over its eyes.

This is a good year for single Roosters as the stars of relationships are in their constellation, meaning they are more likely to meet someone special that will become a partner for life. This is also a good year to get married or have a baby, for those already in relationships. Roosters will also be attractive to other people as friends and colleagues, meaning promotion may be on the cards. So they should take this opportunity to network and meet people. 

Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)

Honest, loyal, sincere. Believes in justice for all. Fights for principles. Sometimes bad tempered, self-righteous.

Single people may find that they have some romantic luck around the time of the Lunar New Year. Otherwise it is a year of relationship stability for those born in the Year of the Dog. Many of them worked very hard last year, so now they can afford to relax a little bit. But if they encounter some bad luck, they should step back and not try to change things, as this might only make things worse.

Pig (1947, 1959 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)

Kind and thoughtful. Sincere and honourable. Self-sacrificing and altruistic. Occasional fits of wilfulness and rage.

People born in the Year of the Pig should be careful with their possessions this year, as the presence of the Wang Shen star means they may be prone to losing things like keys and wallets. But other than this, Pigs will have good wealth luck this year, with successful businesses and career promotions. They also benefit from the star of temporary relationships, meaning that people they meet in all situations will find them likeable.