It is the Chinese Lunar New Year tomorrow and festivities are shaping up all over the world. Seen as a national holiday and means for celebration among the Chinese people, large Chinese populations around the world are gearing up for the festivities in honor of the upcoming Year of the Goat.
Within China, customs vary regionally and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary depending on family heritage. Although, it is often common practice the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for an annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any “bad fortunes” and to make way for incoming good luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper cut outs nd couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity.” Other activities include lighting fireworks and giving money to loved ones in red paper envelopes.
Another custom that is practiced a lot leading up to the New Year is a visit to a fortuneteller to receive word on what the upcoming year has in store for you. CNN Money traveled to the Far East and visited Hong Kong’s Master Joseph Wong, a destiny consultant, to solicit his predictions on macroeconomics, investing, property value and world affairs. To compare predictions, CNNMoney also visited with economist Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.
“It seems that in the year of the goat, China’s economy [will] still have some growth, but maybe slow down compared to last year — not so strong,” Wong said.
This prediction appears to be right on the money. China’s economy grew by 7.4% last year, and economists surveyed by CNNMoney expect growth just shy of 7% for 2015.
The forecast “sounds very reasonable, actually,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.
Wong thinks China’s property market will be “quite stable in the first half of the year, but in the second half of the year there may be some fluctuation.”
There’s perhaps some truth in that, since China’s property sector is pretty rocky these days. But most economists are sour on the market for the entire year.
“There’s so much oversupply in the market, that developers are already sitting on such large inventories of unsold property,” said Evans-Pritchard.
Even a pick up in property sales won’t provide a boost to the economy, he said.
“It’s building activity that supports economic activity, not sales. Construction activity is going to remain very weak this year and will be a drag on growth, as it was last year.”
China – U.S. relations
The year of the goat will be quite stable for Chinese President Xi Jinping, born in 1953, the year of the snake, Wong said. Turns out the snake and the goat are friends.
But Xi does “need more communication with his colleagues in order to make the political situation more smooth,” Wong said. “He needs to do more hard work regarding the policies of the central government.”
Xi certainly has his work cut out for him. Since entering office two years ago, he has launched a massive anti-corruption campaign and promised major economic reforms.
There has been some progress. But Xi still faces an uphill challenge to strengthen China’s economy, and may need more unification on certain policy reforms to ensure they pass.
Xi might be able to use some of his luck to help out his American counterpart. Born in 1961, the year of the ox, President Obama is going to have “big changes this year,” Wong said. “He may face many problems.”
Wong said Obama’s luck could improve if he puts a snake or rooster in his office.