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特朗普说中国让人民币贬值,事实正相反

更新时间:2016-10-10 10:19:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

China Manipulates Its Currency, but Not in the Way Trump Claims
特朗普说中国让人民币贬值,事实正相反

HONG KONG — In Monday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump repeated one of his frequent criticisms of China: It keeps its currency artificially cheap.

香港——在上周一的大选辩论中,唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)再一次老调重弹,指责中国人为地压低人民币汇率。

Of all the countries in the world, he said, China is “the best ever” at devaluing its currency, the renminbi. That gives its companies a big — and unfair — advantage when selling its goods abroad, the argument goes.

他说,把全世界所有国家都算上,中国是“有史以来最善于”让本国货币——人民币——贬值的。据他所说,这让中国公司在把商品销往海外时获得了巨大的并且是不公平的优势。

That’s no longer quite the case. Nowadays, China faces the opposite problem: It is shoring up its currency while the rest of the world is trying to push it down.

事实已经并非如此了。眼下,中国面临着截然相反的问题:它正在外界竭力打压人民币之际为其提供支撑。

That change speaks to an enormous shift in China’s economic fortunes and to its position in the world. Not long ago, it was still an up-and-coming country looking for ways to nurture an economic boom that was lifting millions of people out of poverty.

这种变化反映了中国经济状况的巨大转变以及它在世界上的位置。不久前,它还是一个想方设法促进经济繁荣,让无数国人摆脱贫困的新兴国家。

Today, China is a world power with ambitions to call more of the shots in world economic affairs. Beijing is no longer content to cede that role to the likes of Brussels, London, Tokyo and Washington.

如今,中国已经成为世界性大国,雄心勃勃地想要在世界经济事务中享有更多决策权。北京不愿再把相关权力拱手让给布鲁塞尔、伦敦、东京、华盛顿等地。

With that shift in attitude comes a change in the way China thinks about its money. A decade ago, China saw its currency as merely a tool to help its factories sell goods. That meant keeping it weak.

随着其态度发生这样的转变,中国看待本国货币的角度也变了。10年前,中国只把人民币视为帮助本国工厂销售产品的工具。那意味着要让它维持弱势。

Now, China sees the renminbi as an instrument of its growing power. If more people around the world hold renminbi in their wallets, the thinking goes, then China will have greater say in the decisions they make. Someday, Beijing hopes, the renminbi may even rival the dollar as the world’s de facto currency.

现在,中国把人民币视为增强自身影响力的工具。其想法是:如果在世界各地有更多人把人民币塞进钱包,那他们在做决策时就会更多地受到中国的影响。北京甚至希望,人民币有朝一日能作为实际上的世界性货币与美元分庭抗礼。

With that in mind, China has moved in recent years to make the renminbi more appealing. On Saturday, when the International Monetary Fund is set to formally add the renminbi to its basket of reserve currencies, a move that will lump it in with the dollar, the pound, the euro and the yen, it will take another step in that direction.

有了这层考虑,中国近年来采取了一些让人民币更具吸引力的举措。国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund)在不久前正式把人民币加入特别提款权货币篮子——人民币将由此跻身美元、英镑、欧元和日元的行列——是中国朝那个方向迈出的又一步。

But in the year since the monetary fund first said it would bestow that status on the renminbi, the Chinese currency has become less attractive. Despite Mr. Trump’s contention — which, like his assertions about Japan, harks back to another era — many economists say they believe the renminbi is overvalued, not undervalued.

但在这一年里,自从国际货币基金组织首次宣布将赋予人民币这种地位以来,中国货币已经变得不那么有吸引力了。尽管特朗普亮明了观点——和他对日本的看法一样,已经过时了——但许多经济学家都表示,他们认为人民币目前处于高估而非低估的状态。

Tony Gao, a senior at the University of Southern California, helped found a start-up called Easy Transfer three years ago. The company helps Chinese parents with children going to American schools exchange their renminbi for dollars. But business growth is down this year, he said, because many affluent Chinese have already changed their renminbi for dollars.

南加州大学(University of Southern California)大三学生高宇同(Tony Gao)三年前与人联手创办了初创企业易思汇(Easy Transfer)。该公司会帮助送子女去美国读书的中国父母把人民币兑换成美元。但他说,今年的业务增长有所放缓,因为很多富有的中国人已经把人民币换成美元了。

“A lot of them already have acknowledged this depreciation,” Mr. Gao said, adding that he was thinking of switching his renminbi to dollars, too. “Now I’m actually on the edge.”

“他们很多人都意识到了这种贬值的趋势,”高宇同说他自己也在考虑把手里的人民币换成美元。“我现在就在决策的门槛上。”

Currency 101

货币的常识

The situation with the renminbi:

人民币的处境是这样的:

Under the traditional rules of economics, the value of a country’s currency will go up if the world moves more money there. That is what should have happened in China. People around the world poured money into the country as they bought its products and as companies built factories and invested in China’s growth.

按照传统的经济规则,当人们把更多的钱转移到一个国家的时候,该国货币便会升值。中国本应出现这种情况。当人们购买中国的商品,企业在中国投资建厂、押注于该国经济增长的时候,曾有大把的钱撒向那里。

Instead, China largely kept its currency at a steady value compared with the dollar. That contributed to imbalances in the country, but it kept the renminbi weak.

然而,中国基本让人民币对美元汇率保持了稳定。这在某种程度上造成了中国经济的失衡,但它此前一直让人民币处于疲软状态。

For China’s manufacturers, a weak currency is ideal. If the renminbi is at, say, eight to the dollar, then a $100 widget translates into an 800 renminbi sale. At a stronger seven renminbi to the dollar, that same $100 widget generates only 700 renminbi in sales.

对中国制造商而言,疲软的货币是好事。举个例子,如果1美元可兑换8人民币,那么卖出100美元的小商品就可以有800人民币的销售收入。如果人民币走强,1美元只能兑换7人民币,那么同样是卖出100美元的小商品,只能产生700人民币的销售收入。

That is not ideal for the American factories that compete with Chinese rivals. In previous years, China’s currency policy angered American lawmakers and took center stage in the United States’ dealings with China.

但对那些与中国对手竞争的美国工厂而言,这就不是好事了。前些年,中国的货币政策触怒了美国的议员,成为了美国对华事务的核心议题。

What Changed?

什么改变了?

For starters, China’s growth rate slowed, and the flow of money into the country moderated. Both factors have led economists to say that the renminbi might be fairly valued, or even overvalued. The verdict, for many investors: China’s currency is poised to weaken.

首先,中国增速放缓,且进入该国的资金流减弱。这两个因素促使一些经济学家表示,人民币的价值可能是合理的,甚至被高估了。对很多投资人来说结论便是:中国的货币即将走弱。

There are other forces at work. China has taken steps over the past few years to relax its hold on the renminbi. That makes it easier for banks and merchants abroad to save the renminbi or to use it in transactions. Manufacturing has also declined as a major growth driver in the country’s economy, as the government pushes to build its growing consumer and high-tech sectors.

还有其他力量在发挥作用。过去几年里,中国采取多项措施,意在放松对人民币的控制。这降低了海外银行和商户储蓄人民币或在交易中使用人民币的难度。随着政府推动建设该国规模渐长的消费和高科技行业,作为中国经济主要增长动力的制造业也出现了下滑。

Since August of last year, when Beijing surprised global markets with a one-time devaluation of its currency, investors have been broadly seeking to unload their renminbi in favor of dollars.

去年8月,北京让人民币一次性贬值,震惊全球市场。自那时以来,投资者普遍寻求抛售人民币,换取美元。

In Hong Kong, the biggest offshore center for renminbi banking, deposits of the Chinese currency peaked in December 2014 and have since fallen by a third.

在最大的人民币银行业务离岸中心香港,人民币存款在2014年12月达到巅峰,现在和那时相比已减少三分之一。

For five years since 2010, the renminbi had made small but progressive gains as a global payment currency, as measured by transactions processed on the Swift global payment system. But that usage crested in August 2015 at 2.8 percent of transactions, and it has declined steadily since then, to 1.9 percent in August.

用通过环球银行金融电信协会(Swift)全球支付系统处理的交易来衡量,在从2010年开始的五年时间里,人民币作为全球支付货币的作用逐步小幅提升。但这一功能在2015年8月达到峰值,使用人民币支付的交易比例达2.8%。之后,这个数字逐步下滑至今年8月的1.9%。

China has spent hundreds of billions of dollars from its foreign reserves over the past year to support the value of the renminbi and to prevent it from weakening more drastically. A sharp fall could lead even more people to find ways to convert their renminbi into other currencies, resulting in an exodus of money from the country. More broadly, it could undermine Beijing’s case that the renminbi is worth holding.

过去一年里,为了支持人民币的价值并防止其更加剧烈地贬值,中国花了数千亿美元的外汇储备。外汇储备急剧下跌可能会导致更多人设法将持有的人民币兑换成其他货币,造成资本外流。在更广泛的层面上,这对力求证明人民币值得持有的北京是不利的。

Under Pressure

压力之下

Even long-term supporters of the renminbi now seem to see the currency’s pause as perhaps inevitable.

即便是人民币的长期支持者现在似乎也认为,它停止升值也许不可避免。

“It’s been the strongest currency in the world for the last 10 years or so, and anything that strong should consolidate, should have a correction,” said Jim Rogers, a Singapore-based investor who is well known for being bullish on China. “Is it a normal market correction or being jiggled? Maybe some of both,” he added.

“它是过去大约10年里全世界最强劲的货币,任何强劲到这个地步的东西都需要固化,需要进行一次调整,”身在新加坡的投资人吉姆·罗杰斯(Jim Rogers)说。他因为看涨中国而声名远扬。“是正常的市场调整还是动荡?可能都有一些,”他接着说。

Mr. Rogers, who made his name in the 1970s as a co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros, said he retained a positive long-term view of the Chinese currency. But he said the renminbi could continue to come under selling pressure in the next year or so, as investors flock to the perceived safety of the dollar.

罗杰斯因在70年代和乔治·索罗斯(George Soros)共同创立量子基金(Quantum fund)而成名。他表示从长远来看,自己仍对人民币持乐观态度。但他说,在未来的大约一年里,随着投资者纷纷认为美元较为安全,人民币可能仍会面临抛售压力。

Some of the renminbi’s declines, Mr. Rogers added, were “a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

罗杰斯接着表示,人民币贬值在一定程度上“是个自证预言”。

“Because it’s not convertible, people feel trapped and want to get out,” he said.

“因为不可兑换,人们觉得被困住了,都想出去,”他说。

Longer term, despite the I.M.F.’s planned move, few expect the renminbi to rival the dollar as a haven, or even as a significant reserve currency, unless China pushes forward with dramatic legal and financial changes.

从长远来看,尽管IMF计划采取相关行动,但鲜有人认为人民币会成为能够与美元相媲美的避风港,甚至是重要的储备货币,除非中国推进巨大的法律和金融变革。

Inclusion in the monetary fund’s basket is “a symbolically momentous event but is unlikely by itself to be a game changer in global finance,” said Eswar S. Prasad, a professor at Cornell University and a former top I.M.F. official for China. He is also the author of a book called “Gaining Currency: The Rise of the Renminbi.”

将其纳入货币基金组织的储备货币篮子是“一件象征意义重大的事情,但它本身不太可能改变全球金融的格局,”康奈尔大学(Cornell University)教授、前IMF中国部门高官埃斯瓦尔·S·普拉萨德(Eswar S. Prasad)说。他还是《不断升值的货币——人民币的崛起》(Gaining Currency: The Rise of the Renminbi)的作者。

“Notwithstanding the I.M.F.’s imprimatur, the renminbi will not become a significant reserve currency unless China has better-developed and well-regulated financial markets,” Mr. Prasad added.

“尽管获得了IMF的正式批准,但人民币不会成为重要的储备货币,除非中国能有一个更发达的、监管良好的金融市场,”普拉萨德接着说。

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