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货币政策难医全球债务沉疴

更新时间:2015-7-1 9:50:41 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Loads of Debt: A Global Ailment With Few Cures
货币政策难医全球债务沉疴

There are some problems that not even $10 trillion can solve.

有一些问题是10万亿美元(约合62万亿元人民币)也解决不了的。

That gargantuan sum of money is what central banks around the world have spent in recent years as they have tried to stimulate their economies and fight financial crises. The tidal wave of cheap money has played a huge role in generating growth in many countries, cutting unemployment and preventing panic.

世界各国的央行近些年来花了这么大一笔钱,努力刺激经济,对抗金融危机。这股宽松货币政策的浪潮,在促进很多国家的经济增长、降低失业率及防止恐慌等方面发挥了巨大作用。

But it has not been able to do away with days like Monday, when fear again coursed through global financial markets. The main triggers for the steep declines in stock and bond markets were announcements out of Greece and Puerto Rico. In China, meanwhile, the precipitous declines in its stock market were also a sobering reminder that stubborn problems lurk in the global economy.

然而,它无法消除周一这样的日子。当天,全球金融市场再次弥散着担忧情绪。引发各大股票与证券市场大幅下挫的主要原因是希腊和波多黎各公布的信息。与此同时,中国股市的暴跌也让人们清醒地认识到,全球经济仍然存在一些根深蒂固的问题。

Stifling debt loads, for instance, continue to weigh on countries around the world. Greece’s government has repeatedly called for relief from some of its debt obligations, and Puerto Rico’s governor said on Sunday that its debt was “not payable.” Both borrowers are extreme cases, but high borrowing, either by corporations or governments, is also bogging down the globally significant economies of Brazil, Turkey, Italy and China. And economists say that central banks and their whirring printing presses can do only so much to alleviate the burden.

例如,沉重的债务负担继续困扰着全球多个国家。希腊政府多次要求外界免除部分债务,波多黎各总督则在周日表示,他们“无力偿还”债务。这是两个极端的例子,但无论是企业还是政府,高额借贷还让一些具备国际影响力的经济体——巴西、土耳其、意大利及中国——陷入困境。经济学家表示,央行和它们那些不停转动的印钞机能为减轻负担做的事情是有限度的。

“Monetary policy can only be a palliative,” said Diana Choyleva, chief economist at Lombard Street Research. “It cannot be a cure.”

“货币政策只能起到缓解作用,”朗伯德街研究公司(Lombard Street Research)首席经济师黛安娜·乔伊列娃(Diana Choyleva)说。“不是根治的方法。”

On Monday, the closing of banks in Greece ignited worries of a messy exit from the euro, and stock markets around the world fell sharply. Adding to the turmoil were expectations that the Greek government would not make a debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund that is due on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 350 points, or 1.95 percent, while the benchmark index for investors, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index tumbled 2.09 percent, erasing its gain for the year. It was also the first decline of more than 2 percent since October last year.

周一,希腊关闭银行一事,让人们担心该国会退出欧元区,并引发混乱,全球股市大幅下跌。火上浇油的是,外界认为希腊政府可能不会向国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)偿还一笔周二到期的债务。道琼斯工业平均指数下跌350点,跌幅1.95%,与此同时,被投资者当做基准指数的标准普尔500指数下跌2.09%,抵消了今年的增长。这也是该指数自去年10月以来,跌幅首次超过2%。

Wall Street’s avidly watched fear gauge, known as the Vix, spiked to its highest level in months, suggesting more turbulence ahead.

华尔街热切地看着恐慌指数,即Vix指数在几个月时间里冲上最高点。这表明未来还有更多波动。

The market turbulence was greater in Europe. The stock markets of Italy and Portugal fell over 5 percent, while Spain’s was down 4.6 percent. Ominously, each country’s government bonds also sold off, pushing up their yields, which move in the opposite direction to their prices.

欧洲的市场波动更剧烈。意大利和葡萄牙的股市下跌逾5%,而西班牙股市则下跌4.6%。不幸的是,各国的政府债券也都已售罄,抬升了反向联动的收益率。

In China, stocks fell again on Monday, leaving them down more than 20 percent from their recent peak, in bear market territory.

周一当天,中国股市再次下探,同前不久达到的高点相比跌幅超20%,步入熊市。

Investors sought the comparative safety of United States government bonds. Treasury prices rallied, pushing the yield, which moves in the opposite direction, on the benchmark 10-year note down to 2.33 percent, its sharpest decline since October.

投资者纷纷寻求美国政府债券的相对安全性。美国国债价格上扬,将反向联动的标准10年期国债收益率拉低至2.33%,属去年10月以来的最大跌幅。

The return of nervous selling on stock markets raises important questions about the health of the global economy. As central banks like the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have printed trillions of dollars and euros, markets in stock and bonds, as well as other types of assets, have responded optimistically, sometimes reaching highs that were unthinkable seven years ago in the depths of the financial crisis.

股市再现紧张抛售引发了对全球经济健康的重要质疑。因为美联储(Federal Reserve)和欧洲中央银行(European Central Bank)等央行已印制了数万亿美元和欧元,股票、债券及其他类型的资产市场,均作出了积极的回应,有时达到七年前金融危机最为严重的时候难以想象的高位。

Still, when everything is going well, it is easy to forget that there are limits to the power of the central banks, analysts say.

但分析人士称,当一切都顺风顺水的时候,人们容易忘记央行的力量也是有限的。

“Basically, they haven’t got as much bang for the buck, or bang per euro, or bang per yen, as they were expecting,” said Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research.

“基本上,他们未能从发行的美元、欧元或日元中得到期待的回报,”亚德尼研究公司(Yardeni Research)的埃德·亚德尼(Ed Yardeni)说。

Central banks can make debt less expensive by pushing down interest rates. Crucially, though, they cannot slash debt levels to bring much quicker relief to borrowers. In fact, lower interest rates can persuade some borrowers to take on more debt.

央行可以通过调低利率来降低债务的成本。但关键是,它们无法通过降低债务水平,来更快地缓解借贷方的负担。实际上,利率降低可能还会说服一些借贷人借更多债。

“Rather than just reflecting the current weakness, low rates may in part have contributed to it by fueling costly financial booms and busts,” the Bank for International Settlements, an organization whose members are the world’s central banks, wrote in a recent analysis of the global economy.

“低利率不仅仅反映出了当前的疲软,可能还在一定程度上造成了这种疲软,因为它加剧了代价不菲的金融繁荣和萧条,”由全球央行组成的组织国际清算银行(Bank for International Settlements)前不久在分析全球经济时写道。

Many countries are now in a position where their governments and companies live in fear of an increase in interest rates. A further rise in the government bond yields of Spain and Italy could cause a contraction in the fiscal policy of those countries, noted Alberto Gallo, head of macro credit research at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

眼下,很多国家的政府和企业都生活在对利率上调的恐惧之中。苏格兰皇家银行(Royal Bank of Scotland)的宏观信贷研究负责人阿尔贝托·加洛(Alberto Gallo)表示,西班牙和意大利政府债券收益率的进一步上涨,可能会导致两国的财政政策转向紧缩。

“This ‘involuntary tightening’ is what the E.C.B. does not want,” he wrote in an email, referring to the European Central Bank.

“这种‘不由自主的收紧’不是ECB想看到的,”他在一封电子邮件中写道。ECB指的是欧洲央行。

Even faster-growing economies are also vulnerable. Debt in China has soared since the financial crisis of 2008, in part the result of government stimulus efforts. Yet the Chinese economy is growing much more slowly than it was, say, 10 years ago. This has prompted the Chinese government to pursue policies that expose more of the economy to market forces.

即便是增长较快的经济体也颇为脆弱。自2008年的金融危机以来,中国的债务规模飙升。这在一定程度上是政府的刺激计划造成的。但中国经济目前的增长速度,远低于10年前。这促使中国政府实行相关政策,让更多的经济领域接受市场力量的影响。

“They have realized that they cannot continue like this – and that monetary policy doesn’t solve all problems,” Ms. Choyleva said.

“他们已经意识到,不能再这样下去了,货币政策不能包治百病,”乔伊列娃说。

Countries with high-seeming debt totals are not necessarily fragile. The United States government borrowed heavily after the financial crisis. But as the economy recovered, the debt proved to be manageable — and some economists contend that it helped stoke the economic comeback. Japan’s gross debt is equivalent to 234 percent of its gross domestic product. Yet it has had no problems finding buyers for its government bonds over the years, defying gloomy predictions of some Western investors.

债务总额看上去颇高的国家不一定脆弱。金融危机后,美国政府大量举债。但随着经济复苏,那些债务证明是可控的。一些经济学家称,债务帮助刺激了经济复苏。日本的总负债相当于国内生产总值的2.34倍。但多年来,该国一直不愁为政府债券寻找买家,让一些西方投资者的悲观预测落了空。

And some analysts contend that Europe’s debt problems are particularly acute because of the euro. Unlike Japan and the United States, countries in the common currency cannot unilaterally loosen monetary policy and let their currencies fall to try and generate the growth that would then make it easier to pay off debts.

一些分析人士称,欧洲的债务问题特别严重是因为欧元。与日本和美国不同,使用统一货币的欧元区国家无法单方面放松货币政策,让货币贬值,以努力促进增长,进而降低偿还债务的难度。

“Greece needs far easier money than the rest of Europe and it can’t get it because it is locked in with the rest of Europe,” said Joseph E. Gagnon, a senior fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“希腊需要远比欧洲其他地方宽松的货币政策,但却不能如愿,因为它是和欧洲其他地方绑在一起的,”彼得森国际经济研究所(Peterson Institute for International Economics)的高级研究员约瑟夫·E·加尼翁(Joseph E. Gagnon)说。

Forgiving debts is another way to lighten the deadweight on economies. Writing off debt can hurt banks, but defaults can also clear the system of doubtful loans and accelerate a recovery. Some analysts contend that extinguishing the mortgage debt of households bolstered the United States recovery. But lenders are not always willing to give big breaks to borrowers. Greece’s creditors have so far denied the country’s most recent requests for debt relief.

减免债务是给经济减压的另一个途径。免除债务会伤害到银行,但违约也会清除系统中的可疑贷款,加速复苏。一些分析人士称,免除家庭住房抵押贷款给美国的复苏提供了支持。但放款人不见得愿意放借款人一马。截至目前,希腊最近的几次减免请求均被其债权人拒绝。

And, in one of the most stressed countries in Europe, a grim standoff over debt is taking place. Ukraine is moving closer to default after creditors continued lending to the country despite zero growth and a corrupt and opaque political and economic system. Now, some of those creditors, including Franklin Templeton, an American investment firm, have resisted Ukraine’s insistence they take a loss on their principal investment, insisting instead on extending the repayment period.

此外,在欧洲最焦虑不安的国家之一乌克兰,围绕债务问题的严峻僵持正在上演。乌克兰正在接近违约的边缘。在此之前,尽管该国零增,且政治和经济制度腐败、不透明,但债权人仍继续贷款给该国。现在,乌克兰坚持要债权人承担自己的本金亏损,但包括美国投资公司富兰克林邓普顿(Franklin Templeton)在内的部分债权人拒绝了,转而提出延长回报期。

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