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更新时间:2015-8-28 9:02:20 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

China Falters, and the Global Economy Is Forced to Adapt

The commodities giant BHP Billiton spent heavily for years, mining iron ore across Australia, digging for copper in Chile, and pumping oil off the coast of Trinidad. The company could be confident in its direction as commodities orders surged from its biggest and best customer, China.

大宗商品巨头必和必拓(BHP Billiton)公司多年来投了大笔资金,在澳大利亚各地开采铁矿石,在智利挖掘铜矿,还在特立尼达沿海钻井采油。只要来自公司最大、最好的客户中国的大宗商品订单源源不断,必和必拓就能对自己的未来充满信心。

Now, BHP is pulling back, faced with a slowing Chinese economy that will no longer be the same dominant force in commodities. Profit is falling and the company is cutting its investment spending budget by more than two-thirds.


China’s rapid growth over the last decade reshaped the world economy, creating a powerful driver of corporate strategies, financial markets and geopolitical decisions. China seemed to have a one-way trajectory, momentum that would provide a steady source of profit and capital.


But deepening economic fears about China, which culminated this week in a global market rout, are now forcing a broad rethinking of the conventional wisdom. Even as markets show signs of stabilizing, the resulting shock waves could be lasting, by exposing a new reality that China is no longer a sure bet.


China, while still a large and pervasive presence in the global economy, is now exporting uncertainty around the world with the potential for choppier growth and volatile swings. The tectonic shift is forcing a gut check in industries that have built their strategies and plotted their profits around China’s rise.


Industrial and commodity multinationals face the most pressing concerns, as they scramble to stem the profit slide from weaker consumption. Caterpillar cut back factory production, with sales of construction equipment in China dropping by half in the first six months of the year.


Smartphone makers, automobile manufacturers and retailers wonder about the staying power of Chinese buyers, even if it is not shaking their bottom line at this point. General Motors and Ford factories have been shipping fewer cars to Chinese dealerships this summer.


It is not just companies reassessing their assumptions. Russia had been turning to China to fill the financial gap left by low oil prices and Western sanctions. Venezuela, Nigeria and Ukraine have been heavily dependent on investments and low-cost loans from China.


The pain has been particularly acute for Brazil. The country is already faltering, as weaker Chinese imports of minerals and soybeans have jolted all of Latin America. The uncertainty over China could limit the maneuvering room for officials to address the sluggish Brazilian economy at a time when resentment is festering over proposed austerity measures.


The weakness in China is even compelling officials at the United States Federal Reserve to think more globally, as they consider raising interest rates. William C. Dudley, the president of the New York Fed, said on Wednesday that a September rate increase looked less likely than it did a few weeks ago.

中国的经济疲软甚至也迫使美国联邦储备官员们在考虑加息时更加立足于全球。纽约联邦储备银行(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)行长威廉·C·达德利(William C. Dudley)周三表示,9月份加息的可能性看来比几周前认为的要小。

“The entire world is focusing now on China, watching this crisis unfold,” Armando Monteiro Neto, Brazil’s minister of development and foreign trade, told reporters on Tuesday in Brasília. “Brazil is already feeling the effects of China’s deceleration. If the situation gets worse, the impact will get bigger.”

“现在全世界都在关注中国,看这场危机如何展开,”巴西发展、工业和贸易部长阿曼多·蒙泰罗·内托(Armando Monteiro Neto)周二在巴西利亚对记者说。“巴西已经受到中国经济减速的影响。如果情况恶化,影响将会更大。”