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人民币贬值,打响新一轮货币战争

更新时间:2015-8-15 10:41:21 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

China’s Renminbi Devaluation May Initiate New Phase in Global Currency War
人民币贬值,打响新一轮货币战争

For years, China looked like the principled noncombatant. As other countries, seeking to secure an economic advantage, let the value of their currencies slide on international markets, China held firm on the value of its money.

多年来,中国好像原则坚定地拒绝加入纷争。当想要获得经济优势的其他国家任由自身的货币在国际市场上贬值的时候,中国牢牢守住了本国货币的汇率。

But this week, China jumped into the fray. In a surprise decision on Tuesday, the country’s authorities devalued its currency, the renminbi, which has now fallen by 4.4 percent against the dollar this week, a huge drop for China.

不过本周,中国投身到了这场战争中。当局周二出乎意料地决定让人民币贬值。这一星期里,人民币对美元已下滑了4.4%,而这对中国而言是大幅贬值。

The abrupt move opens a new phase in what some analysts see as a long-raging global currency war, a development that could leave the United States exposed and undermine efforts to pull the world economy out of the doldrums.

在一些分析人士看来,全球陷入了一场猛烈的长期货币战,而中国的此番突然之举是其中的一个新阶段。这可能会令美国暴露于风险之下,并瓦解将世界经济拉出泥潭的种种努力。

The yen, the euro and several other major currencies have fallen in recent years against the dollar as the Federal Reserve has cut back its stimulus and policy makers elsewhere have sought to obtain gains for their sluggish national economies.

美联储在削减自身的刺激计划,他国的决策者也在想方设法改善本国疲软的经济。在此背景下,日元和欧元等几大货币近年来对美元持续贬值。

But the countries that don’t join the devaluations, like the United States right now, can end up suffering, if they export less and import more. A steep drop in the value of the renminbi could also intensify some of the forces that, in the view of some economists, have caused the American economy to underperform.

然而,那些没有加入货币贬值行列的国家,比如眼下的美国,或许会出口下降、进口增加,从而蒙受损失。人民币的大幅贬值也可能强化一些因素,而在部分经济学家看来,正是这些因素导致美国经济的表现不如人意。

“The risks of a deflationary, secular stagnation in the U.S. would be increased by a large devaluation of the renminbi,” said Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury secretary. Mr. Summers, however, cautioned against overreacting. “One has to be very careful about regarding market fluctuations and uncertainty among market participants as a crisis that demands major government interventions.”

“人民币大幅贬值的话,美国陷入通缩及通常意义上的经济停滞的风险会增大,”美国前财政部长劳伦斯·H·萨默斯(Lawrence H. Summers)说。不过,他警告不要对此反应过度。“需慎之又慎,别把市场波动和市场参与者当中的不确定性当成亟需政府进行重大干预的危机。”

Even so, the Fed faces a dilemma as it contemplates raising interest rates for the first time in more than nine years. A rate increase could drive the dollar up even more against other currencies, creating a vexing obstacle for the American economy at a crucial moment in its recovery.

即便如此,对于正在考虑九年多以来首次加息的美联储而言,眼下的形势让它陷入两难之中。加息会让美国对其他货币进一步升值,为正处于复苏关键时刻的美国经济制造巨大障碍。

“We’ve been in a currency war for six years,” said Stephen S. Roach, a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University. “China is now moving on its currency, and other countries are using their currencies as a tool to relieve distress, and that is potentially destabilizing.”

“我们已经经历了六年的货币战争,”耶鲁大学杰克逊全球事务研究所(Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University)高级研究员斯蒂芬·S·罗奇(Stephen S. Roach)说。“中国正在采取货币方面的措施,其他一些国家也在把货币当成一种缓解压力的工具来用,而这可能会破坏稳定。”

China’s devaluation stems in part from a desire to let markets influence the price of the renminbi, a shift global policy makers have advocated. If managed well, it may give China a lift and the extra flexibility it may need as it deals with the challenges facing its economy.

中国使人民币贬值的部分原因是它渴望让市场来影响人民币定价。全球范围内的决策者一直主张中国进行这项改革。如果处理得当,它也许会让中国获得它应对当前的经济挑战时可能需要的提振及更大的灵活性。

At a news conference on Thursday, officials from the Chinese central bank defended the devaluation and said it would be managed carefully. Zhang Xiaohui, an assistant governor at the central bank, said that there was “no basis for the continued depreciation of the renminbi.”

在周四的记者会上,中国央行的官员对人民币贬值进行了辩护,表示他们会小心应对。该机构的行长助理张晓慧表示,“当前不存在人民币汇率持续贬值的基础。”

The hope among global policy makers, of course, is that the changes in exchange rates are not excessive and do more good than harm. Still, history shows that currencies often go down too much or go up too far, interrupting the strong trade flows that have underpinned the global economy for decades.

当然,全球范围内的决策者希望,汇率的波动不会过大,而是带来利大于弊的局面。不过,历史经验表明,货币要么是贬值过多,要么是升值过度,对数十年来支撑全球经济的强劲贸易活动构成干扰。

The fear among some analysts is the currency tensions could worsen some of the entrenched problems that they say exist in the global economy.

一些分析人士认为,全球经济中存在不少根深蒂固的问题,他们担心当前的货币冲突或许会令其中部分问题雪上加霜。

Some of them, for instance, assert that the international system relies too much on the dollar as a so-called reserve currency. This dependence means that the Fed’s actions, set primarily for the United States economy, can change economic conditions in many other countries, even when the change is not warranted or constructive.

比方说,部分人认定,当前的国际体系太过依赖美元来充当“储备货币”。这种依赖意外着,美联储以美国经济为主要考量采取的行动,可能会改变其他许多国家的经济状况,就算这种改变并不正当,或者是带来破坏。

In addition, some economists contend that, under the current system, countries like Germany and China are able to run stubbornly large trade surpluses. When they do, it can create economic headaches for other nations.

此外,一些经济学家认为,在当前体系下,德国和中国等国得以持续录得巨额顺差。它们这样,会令其他国家的经济出现问题。

“We are in a period of trade war — make no mistake,” said Michael Pettis, a professor of finance at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. “People say it’s a zero sum game. It’s not — it’s a negative sum game.”

“别搞错了,我们正处在贸易战中,”北京大学光华管理学院金融学教授迈克尔·佩蒂斯(Michael Pettis)说。“大家说这是零和游戏。其实不然,这是负和游戏。”

In the past, international authorities have taken bold steps to quell extreme moves in currency markets. Not wanting a repeat of the competitive devaluations of the 1930s, they set up a system of fixed exchange rates after World War II that severely limited how much currencies could fluctuate.

过去,国际权威机构采取了一些大胆举措来缓和货币市场的过度波动。它们不想30年代各国货币竞相贬值的历史重演,于是在二战后设立了一套固定利率的体系,从而有力地限制了货币波动的范围。

After that fell apart in the early 1970s, major countries occasionally intervened to moderate currency movements through international agreements like the 1985 Plaza Accord, named for the Plaza Hotel in New York. At the time, the accord helped arrest a soaring rally in the dollar.

七十年代早期,这一系统崩溃之后,几个主要的大国偶尔也通过1985年的《广场协议》(Plaza Accord)之类的国际协议进行干预,以减少货币波动。当时,这个以签署地纽约广场饭店(Plaza Hotel)命名的协议,帮助遏制了美元汇率的飙升。

Few, if any, analysts believe similar interventions are needed right now. But if currency tensions cause economic turmoil, eyes may turn to the world’s largest central banks for help.

现在,几乎没有几个分析师会觉得,我们需要与之类似的干预措施。但如果货币浮动带来的压力过大,导致经济动荡,人们都会把目光转向世界上最大的中央银行,指望它来解决问题。

In the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed in effect became the central bank to the world, extending emergency loans to foreign banks and funneling dollars to other countries to make sure financial systems didn’t seize up.

在2008年的金融危机中,美联储实际上变成了整个世界的中央银行,给外国银行提供紧急贷款,向其他国家注入美元,以确保其金融系统不会停转。

But the Fed is thinking about raising interest rates, perhaps as early as next month. When interest rates do go up, it could make life even harder for countries in the developing world, which could experience capital outflows. Also, companies in emerging markets that have borrowed in dollars will have to spend more of their local currency to pay back their dollar debts.

但现在美联储正考虑加息,最早可能下个月就会实施。一旦美元利率走高,发展中国家可能会出现资本外流,导致这些国家陷入更困难的境地。而且,新兴市场里负有美元债务的企业将不得不付出更多当地货币以偿还其美元贷款。

To offset the Fed’s tightening, Indonesia, South Korea and other such countries may decide to devalue their currencies even more.

为了抵消美联储紧缩政策的影响,印度尼西亚、韩国和其他此类国家可能会决定更大幅度地下调本国货币利率。

Seeing what a Fed increase could do, some analysts assert that the central bank will not raise rates next month. But if it does increase rates then, some central bank watchers say it should use cautious language to calm markets.

正因为知道美联储调加息可能会带来什么影响,一些分析师断言,中央银行下月不会提高利率。但一些央行观察人士表示,届时它如果真的这么做,那就应该谨慎措辞,以稳定市场情绪。

“It will have to be the most dovish hike in history,” said George Goncalves, rates strategist at Nomura Securities, referring to an interest rate stance that carefully seeks to avoid an unnecessary tightening of monetary policy.

“它必须是历史上最温和的一次上调,”野村证券利率策略师乔治·贡萨尔维斯(George Goncalves)说道,他指的是一种竭力避免不必要货币紧缩政策的利率调整立场。

Still, the global economy may weather this storm without any big moves by international policy makers. Many economists believe that, despite its rise against other currencies, the dollar is not dangerously overvalued.

但是,也许不需要国际政策制定者采取大动作,全球经济就能安然度过这次风暴。很多经济学家认为,尽管美国对其他货币的汇率在上升,但并没有达到危险的程度。

China, they add, has many reasons to avoid an uncontrolled plunge in the renminbi. A particularly important reason is that Chinese entities have borrowed over $1.6 trillion in foreign currencies. A big drop in the renminbi would make that harder for some Chinese companies to pay back, because they would need to earn more renminbi to service their obligations.

他们还认为,中国有很多理由不让人民币失控大跌。一个尤其重要的原因是,中国企业背负着价值超过1.6万亿美元的外币债务。人民币大幅贬值将使一些中国企业更难偿还贷款,因为他们需要赚更多人民币才能履行债务。

“A sharp devaluation is not in China’s interest,” said Li-Gang Liu, a China economist at ANZ Research. “That could make corporates very panicky.”

“人民币大幅贬值不符合中国的利益,”澳新银行研究中心(ANZ Research)中国经济学家刘利刚说。“那会让企业十分恐慌。”

And for now at least, China may also limit the size of a devaluation, to avoid making the renminbi a big issue in the United States presidential campaign.

而且至少在目前,中国可能还会为避免让人民币成为美国总统竞选中的重要议题而控制人民币贬值幅度。

But if China’s economy weakens further, the country’s leadership may not have the luxury of being able to massage its currency incrementally lower. Chinese policy makers may have to opt for a steeper decline to try to stimulate growth. Then the markets, in response, may aggressively push the currency lower if economic numbers are poor.

但如果中国经济发展势头进一步减弱,其领导层可能就不会有选择让人民币慢慢贬值的余地。他们可能会被迫选择大幅降低汇率以刺激经济增长。接下来,如果经济数据还不好看,市场可能会相应地打压人民币进一步贬值。

“If China is going through the correction that many have predicted over the past decade,” said Benn Steil, a director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, “the currency might have quite a bit further to fall.”

“如果中国正在经历的是很多人在过去十年一直预测会出现的大调整,”对外关系委员会(Council on Foreign Relations)国际经济部主任本·斯太尔(Benn Steil)说道,“那么人民币汇率可能还会有不小幅度的下跌。”

Prolonged turbulence and economic pain may then force world leaders to think hard about whether the international system can be changed. The enormous amounts of easy money pumped out by the Fed over the last decade helped stoke booms in other countries that became unsustainable. And as the Fed has pulled back, the adjustment has been jarring for huge economies, like Brazil and China.

届时,持续的经济动荡和经济阵痛可能会迫使世界领导人认真考虑,能否改变目前的国际货币体系。过去十年,美联储抛出了规模巨大的低息贷款,帮助其他国家实现了经济快速增长,如今这一模式已变得不可持续。美联储已经开始收紧银根,这种调整正在给巴西和中国等大型经济体带来巨大影响。

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