Previous Years

Earth Ox:

26 Jan 2009 – 13 Feb 2010

The fat Ox got fatter. If the index were a track on the ground and we were a drone, it’d look like a cow path, meandering here and there, but you’d miss the earthen ox's inexorable rise. Unsure footing saw it wallow into deepening mud until April, at which point it changed its outfit and reappeared in the fields as the cash cow. From there to the end of the year, there was a frisson on stepping back - this was no ox in a ditch. The new year brought a small profit-taking rest.

  • Feb 01
    Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir becomes first female and LGBT Prime Minister of Iceland
  • Feb 22
    Explosion in Shanxi coal mine kills 74
  • Mar 27
    The Situ Gintung dam fails in Indonesia, killing 99
  • Mar 28
    First cases of H1N1 in the USA
  • Apr 06
    A 6.3 earthquake in Italy kills 308
  • Apr 21
    UNESCO launches the World Digital Library
  • May 17
    Video game Minecraft released to the public
  • May 19
    Announcement of the end of the Sri Lankan civil war
  • Jun 16
    China, Brazil, Russia and India have their first formal meeting as BRICs
  • Jun 21
    Greenland gains self-rule
  • Jul 17
    Hotels in Jakarta attacked by two suicide bombers, seven others die
  • Jul 22
    Longest solar eclipse of the 21st century lasts over six minutes
  • Aug 04
    Bill Clinton and Kim Jong-il meet in Pyongyang over detention of US journalists
  • Aug 16
    Usain Bolt runs a world record 9.58 seconds for the 100m in Berlin
  • Sep 16
    Hatoyama Yukio becomes Prime Minister of Japan
  • Sep 30
    Earthquake in Sumatra kills 1,115 people
  • Oct 10
    Armenia and Turkey reopen borders after being closed for nearly 200 years
  • Oct 22
    Windows 7 goes on sale
  • Nov 02
    Hamid Karzai wins the election for his second term as Afghan president
  • Nov 18
    China and Vietnam settle the land border after a ten-year process
  • Dec 10
    Barack Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Dec 27
    Grave of 3rd century king Cao Cao is found in Henan
  • Jan 04
    World's tallest building, the Burj Kalifa, opens in Dubai
  • Jan 12
    An earthquake devastates Haiti, destroying the capital Port-au-Prince

Fire Ox:

07 Feb 1997 – 27 Jan 1998

Lost in a fog, the fire ox could not find a track to follow. Despite a modest rise over the summer, by late October the Hang Seng was back where it began. At this point, the ox chucked it all in; out-flanked by reality, the drop was fast and deep. Within the month, the index had fallen under 10,000. Some small bellows pushed it back over for the new year, but by the end of the ox year, the trajectory was well and truly shanked. The hindquarter of the year was one of the worst.

  • Feb 14
    North Korean official Hwang Jang-yop defects at Beijing’s South Korean embassy
  • Feb 22
    Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, is announced in Scotland
  • Mar 13
    V-shaped UFO seen by many over Phoenix, Arizona
  • Mar 22
    The Hale-Bopp comet makes its closest approach to the earth
  • Apr 01
    Pokemon debuts on Japanese television
  • Apr 29
    Treaty on the prohibition of chemical weapons comes into force
  • May 02
    Tony Blair becomes the first Labour PM in the UK in 18 years
  • May 11
    The IBM machine, Deep Blue, defeats Garry Kasparov in a chess match
  • Jun 10
    Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot orders the killing of his defence chief, Son Sen
  • Jun 26
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone published
  • Jul 01
    Hong Kong reverts to Chinese rule
  • Jul 23
    Myanmar and Laos join ASEAN
  • Aug 06
    228 people die in the crash of a Korean airliner in Guam
  • Aug 31
    Princess Diana fatally injured in a car accident in Paris
  • Sep 05
    Athens chosen as the host of the 2004 Olympic Games
  • Sep 19
    The CCP 15th Congress adopts Deng Xiaoping Theory in the constitution
  • Oct 03
    Japan's maglev train breaks speed record at 280mph
  • Oct 15
    Land speed car record set in UK at 763mph
  • Nov 08
    River closure achieved for the Three Gorges Dam
  • Nov 13
    UN arms inspection teams leave Iraq
  • Dec 10
    Kazakhstan capital moved from Almaty to Astana
  • Dec 18
    Kim Dae-jung wins the Korean election, ending 36 years of conservative rule
  • Jan 01
    Mongolia changes its working week from 46 to 40 hours
  • Jan 12
    19 European nations forbid human cloning

Wood Ox:

20 Feb 1985 – 08 Feb 1986

Never one to place all its eggs in one brisket, the wood ox spread itself evenly throughout the year and raised the index by about a quarter at year’s end. These were not loin times and leaner cuts were not needed. Marbled throughout the year, the fatty wagyu never kept investors waiting too long and every small dip came with an immediate correction upwards. The high came in January, peaking out just over 1800, a just on 30% rise, and then the wood ox sauntered back into the pen for a well-deserved rest.

  • Feb 20
    China's first Antarctic research station established on George Island
  • Mar 11
    Gorbachev becomes the leader of the USSR
  • Mar 25
    Emirates Airlines founded in Dubai
  • Apr 11
    Death of Enver Hoxha, Albanian leader
  • Apr 18
    Wham release the first Western pop album in China
  • May 19
    The Hong Kong football team beat China in Beijing, 2:1
  • May 25
    Cyclone in Bangladesh kills 11,000
  • Jun 11
    Russian space probe lands on Venus
  • Jun 23
    Air India flight bombed near Ireland, killing 329
  • Jul 05
    Robert Mugabe wins a second term as Zimbabwe’s president
  • Jul 07
    Boris Becker becomes the youngest winner of Wimbledon at 17
  • Aug 01
    KGB agent Vitaly Yurchenko temporarily defects to the USA in Rome
  • Aug 18
    Around 300 drowned when a ferry capsized on the Songhua River
  • Sep 01
    Remains of the Titanic found off Newfoundland
  • Sep 13
    Super Mario Bros released
  • Oct 03
    Space shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight
  • Oct 18
    Nintendo game console released in the USA
  • Nov 18
    Taiwanese television series Empress of the Dynasty begins
  • Nov 19
    First summit between Gorbachev and Reagan
  • Dec 16
    John Gotti assassinates rivals to head the Gambino crime family in New York
  • Dec 20
    Robert Warren becomes the inaugural American Poet Laureate
  • Jan 19
    Brain, the first PC virus, begins spreading
  • Jan 28
    USS Challenger explodes soon after take off
  • Feb 07
    Haiti's president-for-life, Jean-Claude Duvalier, flees to France

Water Ox:

03 Feb 1973 – 22 Jan 1974

Oxen are not known to be swimmers or bathers, and no variety of loin-cloth suits them. This water ox surfed on the momentum left over from the previous year before wiping out as the investment wave peaked and broke. From an early March high of 1800, the index would see out the year just shy of 500, as everyone was filleted to small chunks. No silversides to these clouds. By May, much of the damage was done and from there the index bumped along on its rump for the rest of the year.

  • Feb 17
    Henry Kissinger and Mao Zedong meet
  • Feb 26
    The inaugural Hong Kong Arts Festival begins
  • Mar 01
    Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon is released
  • Mar 29
    US troops all leave Vietnam
  • Apr 03
    The first mobile telephone call is made from the streets of Manhattan
  • Apr 17
    German anti-terrorist unit GSG-9 is established
  • May 03
    The Sears Tower in Chicago becomes the world's tallest building at 442m
  • May 04
    China and Japan cooperate on a submarine cable for communications data
  • Jun 01
    Greek military coup abolishes the monarchy and establishes a republic
  • Jun 04
    A patent for an ATM is granted to three Americans
  • Jul 16
    China establishes a leading small group to advise on birth control
  • Jul 20
    Bruce Lee suddenly dies
  • Aug 08
    Kim Dae-jung kidnapped by South Korean intelligence services
  • Aug 14
    The USA ends the secret bombing of Cambodia
  • Sep 04
    The Tsing Yi Bridge opens
  • Sep 11
    General Pinochet heads a coup that overthrows Chile's democratic government
  • Oct 06
    Yom Kippur war between Israel and Arab countries begins
  • Oct 20
    Sydney Opera House is opened by Queen Elizabeth II
  • Nov 04
    The Netherlands has the first 'car-free Sunday' during the oil crisis
  • Nov 17
    Nixon famously tells the press: "I am not a crook"
  • Dec 01
    Australia grants self-government to Papua New Guinea
  • Dec 15
    The US Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from their manual (DSM II)
  • Jan 11
    The first sextuplets who all live are born, in Capetown
  • Jan 16
    The novel Jaws, by Peter Benchley, is published