As millions around the world usher in the Year of the Goat, hopes are high of a prosperous year ahead. But what might be in store for the global economy, particularly China? Kirsty Basset reports.
A celebratory mood, as Zhang Qiyue, China's consul general in New York rang the Nasdaq opening bell to celebrate Chinese New Year, the most important holiday season on the Chinese calendar. 2015 is the 'Year of the Goat' - or sheep, depending on your translation. As Chinese flock to temples to say their new year's prayers, this dental surgeon in Kuala Lumpur says he's hoping for a stellar financial year ahead. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DENTAL SURGEON F.M. WONG SAYING: "The goat or the sheep is the eighth animal in the cycle of twelve, and it heralds in good luck and prosperity. And this year is the year of the wooden goat which is green colour which means wealth for everyone." Goats are said to be gentle, thoughtful, honest, kind and calm. Will those qualities have any bearing on China's economic fortunes for the year ahead? Charles Stanley's Chief Economist, Jeremy Batstone-Carr says the economy will grow, but the pace will slow. He's looking for growth at around 6.7 to 6.8 per cent - that's below the 7 per cent the Chinese government has historically targeted. And it won't necessarily be a smooth ride. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHARLES STANLEY'S CHIEF ECONOMIST, SAYING: "There are major fissures of course within the Chinese economy. Most noticeably those associated with high levels of indebtedness and credit concerns. So it's not a safe place to invest and the direction of travel may encourage investors to look at very specific sectors of the Chinese economy, rather than the economy in totality." As for the global economy, a mixed outlook. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHARLES STANLEY'S CHIEF ECONOMIST, SAYING: "What we are faced with at the moment, is a positive outlook for the Japanese economy, maybe, albeit with very severe, underlying problems, and a slightly more positive outlook for Europe set against a slightly less positive outlook for the Anglo-Saxon economies of the US and UK." This bell on the outskirts of Beijing was rung 108 times to usher in the New Year, - it's seen a symbol of letting go of worries and gaining wisdom - a quality that investors everywhere will be wishing for.