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中国屡现企业违约,银行业面临坏账困局

更新时间:2016-4-18 9:16:42 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

As China’s Growth Slows, Banks Feel the Strain of Bad Debt
中国屡现企业违约,银行业面临坏账困局

HONG KONG — For Chinese banks, the decision to lend to companies like Bohai Steel was for years a no-brainer. Lenders took heart from its state backing, which appeared as solid as the millions of tons of steel pipes that rolled off its production lines each year.

香港——对中国的银行而言,给渤海钢铁集团之类的企业提供贷款,在过去多年里一直是不太需要过脑子的决策。出借方从政府对这家企业的支持中获得鼓励,后者看起来就像每年从其生产线上产出的数百万吨钢管一样稳固。

That ironclad image is now tarnished. Plunging demand and a worsening glut in production capacity have left Bohai Steel struggling to repay as much as $30 billion in debt. Worried creditors — more than 100 of them — are locked in negotiations with the company and local officials.

如今,这种稳如磐石的形象开始动摇。市场需求大跌,加之生产过剩持续恶化,使得渤海钢铁难以偿还其高达300亿美元的欠款。感到担忧的债主们——共有100多家——陷入与该企业和当地官员的一轮轮谈判之中。

China’s bad loans are on the rise, as companies that borrowed heavily in headier times struggle against a slowing Chinese economy. Underscoring the slowdown, China said on Friday that growth in the first three months of this year fell to 6.7 percent, a seven-year low. Growth might have been even slower, had China not revved up lending during the quarter — a solution that could add to debt problems later on.

随着繁华年代大举借债的企业在中国经济放缓的背景下陷入困境,中国的不良贷款规模日渐增长。更加突显这种放缓态势的是,中国在周五宣布,该国今年一季度的经济增长率跌至6.7%,为七年来的最低点。如果中国没有在该季度加大贷款力度,这个数字可能还会更低,但上述策略可能会为中国后续应对债务问题带来更大困难。

China’s total local currency loans have more than tripled since the start of 2009, to 98.6 trillion renminbi, or about $15 trillion, at the end of March, according to official Chinese figures from CEIC, a data provider. That is equal to 144 percent of China’s gross domestic product in the 12 months to the end of March — relatively high for China’s level of development, and still rising. In January, Goldman Sachs said other countries that experienced similar debt run-ups faced either financial crises or prolonged slowdowns.

数据机构CEIC提供的中国官方统计显示,截止今年3月底,中国的地方债整体规模达到98.6万亿元人民币,相比于2009年初增加了两倍。这个规模相当于截止3月底的中国全年国内生产总值的144%。该数据相对于中国的发展水平略高,而且还在攀升。今年1月,高盛(Goldman Sachs)曾表示,经历过类似债务高企问题的其他国家,要么出现了金融危机,要么陷入长期的经济迟滞。

Defaults tend not to pose a risk to individual Chinese banks because the government is perceived as standing behind them. But a chain of defaults could lead to a pullback in lending that could crimp China’s economic output, said Anne Stevenson-Yang, a co-founder of J Capital Research.

贷款违约不太会对中国的各家银行本身造成威胁,因为外界普遍认为中国政府会在后面支持它们。然而,美奇金投资咨询公司(J Capital Research)的联合创始人杨思安(Anne Stevenson-Yang)表示,一连串的违约则可能导致贷款紧缩,由此影响中国的经济产出。

“Companies that default are not individually all that important,” she said. “But if you allow them to default categorically, then you are sending a message that this-and-that type of debt can default, and people stop lending.”

“拖欠贷款的企业并非每个都很重要,”她说。“但如果你无条件地允许它们违约,就相当于在释放这样一个信号:各类贷款可以不予偿还。那么银行和机构就会停止发放贷款。”

Profit growth at China’s biggest state-owned banks stalled in the first three months of the years as bad loans mounted. Bad loans as a share of their total portfolio remains low, at less than 2.5 percent, but economists believe the figure understates the problem because banks often extend the payment dates for problem debt.

随着坏账增加,中国最大的几家国有银行的利润增长在今年一季度陷入停滞。不良贷款在银行整体资产组合中的比例依然不高,低于2.5%,但经济学家认为,这个数字并没有反映出这一问题的严重性,因为银行往往会为问题贷款展期。

Bohai Steel has not disclosed details of its debt, and it is unclear which banks might be affected. But it regularly did business with China’s biggest state-run banks, as well as local and regional banking groups also tied to the state.

渤海钢铁没有披露与其债务有关的具体信息,目前尚不清楚有哪些银行会因之受到影响。但与该公司经常有业务往来的包括中国最大的多家国有银行,以及与政府存在关联的几家地方和区域性银行集团。

Since the beginning of this year, company executives have lobbied for more support from banks, as slowing growth and a property slump have reduced China’s demand for steel. In January it met with officials from China Bohai Bank, a lender that like Bohai Steel counts the city of Tianjin as a major shareholder. At the meeting, according to a statement from Bohai Steel, Yan Zesheng, general manager of Bohai Steel Group, said he hoped the bank would “continue to offer robust financial support” to the company.

随着经济增长放缓和楼市低迷导致钢铁需求下降,渤海钢铁的高管们自今年初以来一直在游说各大银行为之提供更多支持。今年1月,他们曾与渤海银行的高管会面。就像渤海钢铁一样,这家银行也将天津市政府列为自己的一个大股东。渤海钢铁的一份公告显示,在这次会议上,集团总经理严泽生表示,他希望渤海银行能“继续为渤钢集团提供强有力的金融支撑”。

Over the years, the company stressed its ties to lenders including the Bank of China, Industrial Bank and Citic Bank, among others, according to statements on its website. In 2013, the company said, it received a roughly $4.6 billion line of credit from Bank of China. A recent article in Caixin, a respected Chinese financial news outlet, said Bohai Steel’s 105 creditors included at least three local banks in Tianjin and Beijing that were each owed more than 10 billion renminbi.

渤海钢铁官网上的多份公告显示,过去许多年里,这家企业一直强调它与包括中国银行、兴业银行和中信银行在内的出借方的关系。2013年,公司曾表示,它从中国银行获得总额300亿元的综合授信额度。著名财经媒体财新网在最近的一篇报道中表示,渤海钢铁有105位债权人,其中至少有三家天津和北京地方银行,平均每家发放了上百亿人民币。

One of those lenders identified by Caixin, the Bank of Tianjin, raised nearly $1 billion in a Hong Kong public offering last month. The bank’s listing document did not mention Bohai Steel but said that nonperforming corporate loans — or loans that had gone sour — rose 46 percent between the end of 2014 and September of 2015, the most recent data available. It cited the Chinese economy and problems in the steel industry.

财新网确认的其中一个出借方是天津银行。它上个月在香港首次公开募股,刚刚融得将近10亿美元资金。这家银行的上市文件中没有提到渤海钢铁,但表示未能履约的企业贷款,或者说是坏账,在2014年底至2015年9月期间上涨了46%。这是目前能找到的有关这项指标的最新数字。文中将中国经济和钢铁行业出现的问题列为出现这一增长的原因。

Neither Bohai Steel nor the banks responded to requests for comment.

渤海钢铁和上述几家银行没有回应本报的置评请求。

Xu Zhongbo, a professor of metallurgy at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, described the situation at Bohai Steel as one where “the banks are now hijacked by the company, and it will take magic to bring the company back.”

北京科技大学冶金学教授许中波将渤海钢铁的情况描述为“银行被企业绑架”的一个例子,并表示“需要有回天之力才能让这家企业活过来。”

“Economically, it’s really hard to get the company back to life, but politically the government needs to support it,” Mr. Xu added.

“从经济层面讲,这种企业的确很难再焕发生机,但从政治层面看,政府需要给它提供支持,”许中波还说。

Other recent examples of corporate defaults in China offer, perhaps, less room for confidence.

对于中国新近出现的其他企业违约案例而言,情况可能更加不乐观。

China Railway Materials, a supplier of construction materials to the railroad industry, became one of the first companies that is directly owned by the central government to run into debt trouble. The company suspended trading this month on more than $2 billion worth of bonds and said it would seek to restructure its debt.

为中国铁道部提供建设物资的供应商中铁物资集团是陷入债务困境的首批中央直属企业之一。该公司本月暂停了其价值逾20亿美元的债券交易,还表示将寻求债务重组。

For China’s banking system, the coming months are almost certain to bring more defaults, bankruptcies and other debt problems, according to economists. “The low default rates that we have seen in recent years are perhaps too good to be true,” said Tao Wang, the co-head of Asia Economics at UBS. “The rise is natural considering the economic circumstances,” Ms. Wang said.

经济学家们表示,对中国的银行系统而言,接下来几个月势必会面临更多贷款违约、企业破产和其他债务问题。“过去几年的低违约率看起来太美妙了,或许并不真实,”瑞士银行(UBS)亚洲经济研究团队负责人之一王涛说。“考虑中国的经济环境,出现这种抬升才是正常的。”

The Bohai Steel case also demonstrates how China’s mountains of corporate debt extend beyond just traditional bank loans.

渤海钢铁集团的情况也证明,中国规模巨大的企业债已经超出了传统银行贷款的范畴。

One of the company’s main subsidiaries, Tianjin Steel, also sought to raise money from ordinary investors.

该集团主要的子公司天津钢铁集团还曾试图从普通投资者那里融资。

Tianjin Steel sought to raise as much as $100 million in investments known in China as trust products, according to a review of the marketing materials for those investments. Trust products, which are often used by industries that have a hard time getting funding, are lightly regulated and difficult to track.

一些信托产品宣传资料显示,天津钢铁集团曾经希望通过此类投资项目融资至多1亿美元。信托融资是难以获取贷款的企业经常采取的融资方式,这类产品监管不太严格,也难以追踪信息。

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