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sweetness for HK.
Reuters News

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Worst over but 2002 won't be all sweetness for HK.

excerpt:21 December 2001 Reuters News  English (c) 2001 Reuters Limited

HONG KONG, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Can't wait to bid good riddance to a horrid 2001? 

Well, don't pop the champagne too soon. 

While the worst will soon be behind us, 2002 does not promise to be much better, geomancers in Hong Kong say.

Citing the unfavourable sequence of stars and awkward birth of the Lunar year of the horse on February 12, fengshui masters say there is little to celebrate about the coming year ........................


The year 2001 will go down in history as being tough.

With much of the world in a slowdown, stock markets have been taken on roller-coaster rides only to suffer a crash when New York and Washington were attacked in September. More bloodshed has followed with U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan.

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng Index has fallen about 26 percent since the start of 2001.

Citing the Chinese oracle I Ching, or perhaps in hindsight, geomancer Ma Lai Wah described 2001 as a year when you fiddled with a scab only to see blood spurting out.

"The blood will clot in 2002 but recovery will be very slow as the injury, inflicted since 1997, has been very deep," Ma said. "2002 will be full of hardship but the worst is over."

The I Ching, believed to be 5,000 years old, is the ancient Chinese "Book of Changes" that describes change in 64 hexagrams, each consisting of six solid or broken lines.

Ma says after the turmoil of the late 1990s, the time between 2001 and 2003 will see consolidation, and Lai warned there could be no marked improvement until 2006. Market punters will have to beware in the coming year.

"The Hong Kong stock market will recover but very slowly. There won't be any more bubbles and everything will have to depend on real, proven performance of companies ," said Ma.

Hong Kong can expect little relief from its unemployment problem, the biggest headache for the tiny territory. Joblessness is now at a near two-year high of 5.8 percent.