If you believe in precedent, the Chinese Year of the Snake which begins this weekend could be very bad for your portfolio.

As broker CLSA says in a report, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has dropped in four out of the five last Snake years. Worse, Snake years are often marked by shocks, such as the Russian revolution (1917), the Great Depression (1929) and the Twin Towers attack (2001).

But brokers don’t make their living by being gloomy. So CLSA finds reasons why 2013-14 will be different: it’s all down to the basic energies. Read more

There has long been talk that Japan’s collapse in the late 1990s can help us interpret what the west is going through today, particularly from the likes of Richard Koo of Nomura. There has even been talk that Japan’s performance since should be reinterpreted as a model of what Europe should aim for.

But CLSA, the Hong Kong based brokerage, reckons that the South-East Asian crisis of 1997-98 is a better guide to what Europe faces. Eric Fishwick, its head of economics research, has come up with ten Asian lessons for Europe’s crisis. Read more