IT’S that time of the year again, when Filipino businessmen, especially those of Chinese descent, visit their favorite geomancers or feng shui experts to know their fortunes in the Chinese New Year. This stated by Ms. Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo of Business Mirror.
The Year of the Wooden Horse, however, does not bring good tidings for the Philippines, according to Joseph Chau, master geomancer consultant of the Mandarin Oriental, Manila. “It will be a very, very challenging year,” he said in his annual media briefing on Monday when asked about the local economy.
There is “too much fire this year,” he explained, with the Wooden Horse being ruled by this element, and also that of the independence days of the Philippines—June 12, 1898, and July 4, 1946.
As such, he said, there will be “much violence, robberies, explosions, car accidents, earthquakes. People will be hot-headed and so there will be a lot of disagreements, rallies and protests.”
But not to worry, there is a very easy solution to calm the fiery 2014. “Just put fountains all over!” Chau advised, as fountains represent the water element, which douses fire.
Now, Lets look at Reality and use reason, note” fung shui” . The Philippine economy has been growing over 7 percent in the past two years, however, the third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2013 slowed down to 7 percent, compared to the 7.3-percent growth in the same quarter in 2012. Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) might have affected the growth in the fourth quarter, according to government economists. But they forecast a GDP growth of 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent in 2014, as reconstruction efforts ramp up government and private spending.
“Not only in the Philippines but around the world,” Chau said, with the Northwest being the unluckiest direction this year as it has the Disaster Star hovering above it. “They will be prone to arguments and misunderstandings,” he said, and as most world leaders and private companies are males, this spells disaster for their countries and businesses, respectively. In my opinion, Chau, with all due respect to his ” visions” , has a wild imagination .
He claims that , Those who will escape the conflagration wreaked by the Year of the Horse, on the other hand, are women. Females represent the Southwest direction, deemed as the luckiest direction this year with the Romance Star above it. “They will be able to attract people, communicate well, he said, such that private firms led by females will be able to bring their businesses to new heights. So goes with female heads of state.
Fortunately for the Philippines, more women are entering senior managerial positions, according to a survey released last year by the international auditing firm Grant Thornton, the foreign partner of Punongbayan & Araullo. In its International Business Report, Grant Thorton said the Philippines ranks in the top 5 in terms of the number of women in senior management. Of the local firms surveyed, female chief executive officers rose to 23 percent in 2013, compared to only 13 percent in 2012.
The Year of the Horse may also be auspicious for Philippine exporters of furniture and electronics, many of whom have been struggling since the US and Europe slowed down their imports, after being hit by the global economic crisis, which began in 2007/2008. This dovetails with the latest forecast by the World Bank, which said the global economy is “bouncing back” in 2014.
Other lucky businesses this year, Chau said, will be those concerning gasoline (fuel), electricity, education, garments and fashion, furniture, health foods, herbs, restaurants construction and real estate, hotels and tourism, and publishing. Well, with a long list like these, Chau, using ” probabilities will most likely hit the ” target” using a 12 gage shotgun .
And, it is a ” no brainier” that “This will be a good year to sell the Philippines [to foreign tourists],” Chau said, but stressed that “the government should ensure their security.” ( also common sense ) .
THAILAND’ S UNREST, WILL PULL DOWN THE REST:
On a news from Bloomberg.com, The risk of Thailand defaulting on its debt rose to the highest since June 2012 as anti-government protests prompt money managers to sell the nation’s assets. Credit-default swaps insuring Thai debt against non-payment for five years rose to 158 as of 10:37 a.m. in London, versus 150 on Jan. 17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
However, Philippine bonds, Southeast Asia’s biggest gainers in 2013, but after inflation accelerated to a two-year high this month, the peso slumped. Local-currency government notes dropped 1.1 percent in 2014, after gains of 5.2 percent last year that were the best among 10 Asian indexes compiled by HSBC Holdings Plc.
ASEAN Financial crisis have already occurred between June 1997 and January 1998 among “tiger economies” of South East Asian. And what’s happening today, may have similar but unique ” clear and present dangers” .
The Asian meltdown began on February 5th, 1997 in Thailand. That was the date that Somprasong Land, a Thai property developer, announced that it had failed to make a scheduled $3.1 million interest payment on an $80 billion eurobond loan, effectively entering into defaulting. Somprasong Land was the first victim of speculative overbuilding in the Bangkok property market. The Thai stock market had already declined by 45% since its high in early 1996, primarily on concerns that several property companies might be forced into bankruptcy. The stock market fell another 2.7% on the news, but it was only the beginning.
As the baht declined, so the Thai debt bomb exploded. Put simply, a 50% decline in the value of the baht against the dollar doubled the amount of baht required to serve the dollar denominated debt commitments taken on by Thai financial institutions and businesses. This made more bankruptcies such as Finance One all further pushed down the battered Thai stock market. The Thailand Set stock market index ultimately declined from 787 in January 1997 to a low of 337 in December of that year, and this on top of a 45% decline in 1996.
Following the devaluation of the Thai baht, comes the “domino effect”, wave after wave of speculation hit other Asian currencies. One after another in a period of weeks the Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah and the Singapore dollar were all marked sharply lower.
Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a much anticipated rule that finally gets the ball rolling on reform of the mortgage finance industry. Investors fled the market following the housing bust, reducing the flow of financing to borrowers. Likewise, many homebuyers were sold mortgage products that were untenable, resulting in damaged credit and lost savings. Transparency, verification and documentation are keys to restoring confidence from investors and homebuyers. The majority of the market will benefit from the new QM rule, but a subset of the market will likely face higher prices or lose access to financing all together.
The Qualified Mortgage rule, or QM, lays out basic requirements for lender underwriting. In short, the originator of the loan must verify all sources of income and assets and verify that the borrower has the ability to repay the mortgage (ATR). A number of loan types are prohibited from receiving the QM statu,s including those with negative amortization (balloon payments), interest-only features, as well as those with durations greater than 30-years. Finally, there is a cap on fees that lenders can charge of 3% (with an exception for loans under $100,000) and the back-end debt to income ratio (DTI) must be less than or equal to 43%.
In Conclusion , I wish to warn my fellow real estate practitioners , to take prudent measures. Be conservative and save for the ” rainy days” that will come. Cash flow generating business is something to consider. Do not depend on ” commissions” alone. Be prepared , work out an entrepreneurial venture that is Real Estate based. Like, dormitories, rentals of appatments, Medical Home care, and other innovative and creative uses of real estate that will generate for you positive cash flow..
At end of the day, it is not ” Fung Shui” that will determine your SUCESS. But your ability to Work Professionally well, strength to survive or cope with difficulties, and always with a cheerful and optimistic outlook.