February 11, 2010
What does the Year of the Tiger hold for us? Sherman Tai, a local fortuneteller and feng shui consultant, offers his predictions on the economy, politics, and people.
The year 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, a very special year, especially for Vancouver and Canada. Not only does it mark the beginning of a new decade, it is also the year we host the 21st Winter Olympics. Economic benefits? Perhaps not, but it will definitely help increase the exposure of Vancouver and Canada, something we all need during these stressful economic times.
Because the Canadian economy is strongly tied to the American economy, how the U.S. will do this year deserves some attention before we turn to Canada. The importance of the U.S. as a major economic force will slowly start to decline in 2010. Not only will there not be any significant improvement in the economy before the fall, we can expect to see a major scandal globally or within the U.S. The effects of this scandal shouldn’t be too serious and will be related to banking, lending, or credit cards. However, it will lead to a minor second coming of the global recession in the spring or summer. Though it won’t be as serious as what we have experienced, it will certainly shatter the optimism and confidence people have gained. Intervention by the American government can help reduce its impact through efforts such as maintaining low interest rates, printing more currency, and subsidizing industries to encourage consumer spending; however, I don’t foresee any significant improvement in the economy related to these strategies.
The U.S. unemployment rate will range from 8.5 percent to as high as 11 percent. Real estate, finance and banking, stocks, and currency continue to be unstable in 2010. The financial markets will experience large fluctuations. The value of gold will climb to US$1,200 per ounce and crude oil will range from US$70 to US$90 per barrel. The recovery of the economy will be slow, but by the end of the fall there should be more stability.
History was made with Barack Obama becoming the first African-American president. With regards to the global recession, hopes were high from the American people, but though he may have talent he does not have much to work with. As a result, due to unpopular policies, Obama’s popularity will continue to decline this year. Expect him to make an error in judgment that further exacerbates his already declining popularity. Illness, accident, or injury may also befall the U.S. president this year. A continuing challenge will be an increase in terrorist activities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the Middle East. As a result of terrorist threats, military spending will increase, further burdening the economy. The Year of the Tiger is a year when many things will be happening in the U.S., with fears of terrorism and instability of stocks creating an atmosphere in which consumer confidence will not easily be restored.
With more auspicious stars positioned over Canada—and the eastern provinces in particular—we will do comparably better than the U.S. Canada is more protected due to our abundant resources, such as crude oil and precious metals. Though our economy will inevitably be weakened, we will not see a drastic decline, nor will there be much visible growth either, partly due to our close ties with the U.S. and the limitations of a minority government lacking clear goals and good economic policies. In the past, Canada has relied too heavily on the U.S.; however, what the Stephen Harper government will do this year is create even stronger ties with Asia—China in particular, as well as India and Japan—which will encourage exports to these countries.
The economy will continue to be slow in the spring, though in the summer there will be some improvement in the retail, construction, and distribution industries. The unemployment rate will range from 8.5 percent to as high as 9 percent, but toward the fall it will decline to about 6.7 or 6.8 percent. The Canadian dollar will remain strong in 2010, at approximately CAN$1 to 94 to 97 cents US. Interest rates will continue to be low, with a slight increase of not greater than half a percent in the fall. Crude oil, telecommunications, precious metals, and mining products will do well this year, but wood products, automobiles, and machinery will be stagnant. With a weak minority government, there will again be another federal election attempt; this time, the Conservatives have a high chance of forming a majority government, which will be beneficial to Canadian politics and the economy.
Real estate will continue to be stable, particularly in B.C. and Ontario, where there will be a good market with increasing values at the beginning of the year, but with a tendency to fluctuate. Therefore, I do not recommend investing in real estate this year, especially in B.C. The Olympics will not have a major effect on real-estate values in Greater Vancouver. I anticipate that after May or June and into the fall, there will be a large correction, especially on the west side of Vancouver and in Richmond, areas with many Chinese residents. On the other hand, Saskatchewan and Alberta—Calgary and Edmonton in particular—will see a slight increase in real-estate values. In the East, real estate will be fairly stable in areas like Montreal and Ottawa, but Toronto will experience greater fluctuations, where there will be an initial increase followed by a slight decrease.
As for stocks, there will be a slight increase, but the TSX can be expected to reach no higher than 12,000 points. Those who have extra money to invest may consider buying stocks in mining, retail, or banking, but with caution and in small amounts. Vancouver hosting the Winter Olympics will not have solid or lasting benefits for the economy; rather, this will result in an increased tax burden on top of the new HST, which is definitely here to stay despite opposition. I can only say that it will have negative effects ultimately leading to a decreased standard of living for the people of B.C.
Natural disasters and destructive human activities continue to be serious. Because the fire element is strong in the Year of the Tiger, forest fires will be more severe than we have seen in the past. Home fire safety, particularly around Halloween, should be taken seriously. We will see harsher weather this year, with heavy winds and snow, as well as extremes in temperature. Gang shootings, especially in Greater Vancouver, will continue to be a serious problem, along with rising youth violence and home invasions. Though the Canada Line has improved access to Richmond, it will unfortunately also bring more crime to the city.
Luck changes yearly with the position of the stars, and overall we see a better year in the Year of the Tiger compared to the past year, the Year of the Ox. With the Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver this year, it is a unique opportunity for us to celebrate the excellence of athletic achievement. How will we do? I predict that this will be one of the best years for Canada in the Winter Olympics.
For extensive individual Chinese-zodiac predictions, visit Sherman’s Web site.He can be reached at 604-278-8381 or email@example.com