February 4, 2019

Getting ready to usher in the lunar new year of the Pig in a severely disconnected world with US cities as cold as the Arctic, with an angry Summer in Australia, with snow blanketing the U.K., and with the irony of Denmark building their own wall against German boars to protect our favourite Tulip luncheon meat, and the irony of China culling over a million pigs (so far) in their battles against African swine flu.

Is it a surprise to us? That our favourite pigs into the Pig Year would be the dead ones, which is hardly auspicious?

The bah kwa, char siew, siew yoke, braised pork, roast pig/(guinea pig in Peru), and not to be mention all those sumptuous and auspicious dumplings or Lion’s Head (pork meatballs) or, Western staples in our hams or bacon or SPAM?

For all the Chinese horoscope fans, nobody talks about dogs (last year) this way.

There is Little Good to Say About Pigs

Yes, we googled hard and the best live pigs we have in around in modern mythology would be Babe (1995), or Wilbur (of Charlotte’s Web fame) and going back, the villainous and satirical pig Old Major on Animal Farm.

Religiously taboo, pigs are outlawed in the eyes of Islam and Judaism (around 25% of global population) for being non-halal and non-kosher or unclean.

Metaphorically, pigs are in even worse shape—sweat like a pig, greedy pig, fat as pig, pig in a poke, as dead as a pig, as fat as a pig, pig’s ear, throwing pearls at swine, pigs can fly and more.

Yes, ridicule the poor pig because it happens to be the most consumed meat in the world, as yet, not because we do not have enough chickens and chicken char siew (that is halal) and also one of the cheapest source of meat protein in the world, by virtue of being unacceptable in the Muslim world, even if beef is banned in India.

Lunar-New-Year-Special-Art-1Source: Predator Nutrition

Nonetheless pigs are fashionable and, to a certain extent, cute (Miss Piggy and Peppa Pig), to the Chinese and the culture, because there is not a single other docile and non-violent farm animal that can come across as less assuming and more prosperous (FAT) looking to connote that peace-loving good fortune, that we can think of, across the ages (even if we like them as our favourite foods).

A Piggy Year

As we would have it that the Pig would coincide with what we have surmised to be a Stupid and Dull year for 2019, we know that the CLSA Fengshui Index 2019 is not predicting too much riches for the HSI Index too for us to be lucky to get away with a slight single digit (at best) gains.

Lunar-New-Year-Art-2Source: CLSA

The Fengshui is not looking good because we are just about to enter into a long yin cycle, i.e. non-yang years (2013-2017) which has been the harbinger of optimism and confidence, in the year of the Earth Pig and that we will not have fire until 2025, if we are feeling slightly superstitious for those portfolios.

It will not do too much good to be too optimistic and trust in the docility of the Pig to underestimate the fluid (yin) undercurrents of danger, unrest, deceptions, conflict and disharmony, along with the natural disasters, environmental disasters, disease and epidemics (possibly not discounting the African swine flu situation), according to our favourite and free online Fengshui master, Raymond Lo, whom we have avidly followed over the years for his somewhat abstract accuracy, perceived or imagined by us.

How to Trade the Pig Year

How about try talking to a pig instead of a dog? That is worth a try!


Because pigs are anatomically similar to humans and have been shortlisted as the top candidates for xenotransplantation in the future except for brains, we would suppose, as smart as pigs have proven in lab tests!

Trying thinking like a pig?

Not before we can think as well as bees, octopuses, crows, dolphins, elephants, goats and chimpanzees, as the natural order of IQ goes, even though pigs have been proven to learn recognition tasks as quickly as chimps.

And… Trading like a Pig?

It may feel awfully alien, after the unreal bull-run we have witnessed in the past 35 days, sitting through one of the worse Decembers in 87 years for US stocks to be followed by the best January in 30 years, that we would be considering that this could be a dead cat bounce.

Yet it is possibly good advice, to trade as if fortune (the Pig) is on your side to be taken from you the next minute.

We cannot think too hard about it and be too sentimental (Pig-headed) even if we are worried about the source of our pork, after Japan discovered African swine flu virus in imported Beijing pork sausage, because of it is the shape of things to come.

That the Federal Reserve will pause or not pause, or Brexit will derail or not, or if Trump would pull the nuclear switch after just pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia 

Yes, be prepared for confusion and to swing from “indiscriminate selling to indiscriminate buying”, as SocGen says, even if the rally makes no sense.

We can blame passive investing and algo’s for all that but it does pay to be like the typical investor who is “focused on momentum, unused to volatility and sees valuation as irrelevant”, because it is the new world order, where 2/3rds of active traders have never seen a financial crisis or bear market.

We will have more and more folks agreeing with hedge fund billionaire, Ray Dalio, that “capitalism basically is not working for majority of people” that will basically get worse if bacon prices soar in the months ahead when we are considering the Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and gang’s FAT IPOs’, wondering if the market will be able to sustain their valuations.

Will pork be the greater worry? When consumer sentiments have hit new lows in the US and the rest of the world get more cautious, as evidenced in this year’s CNY expenditures for friends we spoke to plus the alarming headline that the Chinese car purchases have contracted for the first time in 2 decades?

What a Parcel of Pigs

If only Pigs could fly us out of this year but it is not looking terribly optimistic: central banks stimuli or rate cuts, political upheavals or the miracle of a new Unicorn, or not.

For our annual cheeky CNY post that will not be hogwash, our new year wish would be for a delicious parcel of dead pigs—char siew, roast pork, bah kwa and more, cheap bacon and big, fat, greedy Pig rallies in between the downturns.