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双语:中国经济是战斗还是逃跑?

2016-03-10    来源:Eco中文论坛    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

双语:中国经济是战斗还是逃跑?

China's leaders face a menu of unappealing exchange-rate options
中国领导人民面临一种失去吸引力的汇率选项

THE past six months have been hard on the reputations of China's economic managers. Their attempts to bring troublesome stockmarkets to heel border on slapstick. The uncertain handling of the country's exchange rate, on the other hand, is no laughing matter. Unexpected wobbles in the value of China's currency roil global markets. Yet no exchange-rate policy offers a sure and safe route forward.
过去的六个月,对于中国经济管理者的名声来说是苛刻的。他们让令人头疼的股市俯首帖耳种种努力近似于闹剧。另一方面,国家之于汇率的不确定性处理却不是一件闹着玩的事情。人民币币值意料之外的波动震动了全球市场。然而,没有一种汇率政策能够提供一条确定且安全的前行之路。
 
Some see a resemblance in China's predicament to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Then, fast-growing countries like Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand faced outflows of capital as investor sentiment flipped from bullish to bearish. Governments were forced to abandon currency pegs as their foreign-exchange reserves dwindled. Massive depreciations led to financial havoc, as asset prices tumbled and these countries' enormous debts ballooned in dollar terms. Painful recessions ensued.
有人在中国的困境中看到的是上世纪90年代末期亚洲金融危机的影子。当时,像印尼、南韩和泰国这样的快速增长国家,由于投资者的情绪由牛转熊,面临过资本外流的危机。各国政府因为外汇储备的缩水而被迫放弃了货币挂钩制。大规模的贬值导致了金融浩劫,资产价格大幅下跌,这些国家庞大的美元债务迅速膨胀。痛苦的衰退随之而来。
 
The lessons of the Asian crisis were not lost on China's leaders, however. During its great boom, in the 2000s, China maintained tight capital controls, permitting foreign direct investment while eschewing “hot money”. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) intervened heavily in foreign-exchange markets to keep the yuan cheap, building up $4 trillion in reserves in the process. Where the crisis countries of the 1990s ran persistent trade deficits, China kept its current account in surplus; thus adding to, rather than draining from, its foreign-exchange reserves.
然而,这场亚洲危机的教训并没有在中国领导人那里迷失。在21世纪第一个十年的大繁荣期间,中国维持了从紧的资本管制,一边放行外国直接投资,一边回避“热钱”。中国人民银行(PBOC)外汇市场上进行了重度干预,以保持人民币便宜,并在这一过程中构建了4万亿美元的储备。就在上世纪90年代的危机国家持续出现贸易赤字的同时,中国却保持了经常账户的盈余;因而,他们是在增加而不是抽取外汇储备。
 
Despite these prophylactics China now faces its own financial crunch. Its reserves are down by almost $700 billion from their peak, thanks to capital flight and sinking asset values. Determined money has long seeped out of China's stockade; signs of a bigger leak emerged in the latter half of 2015. In December alone reserves fell by more than $100 billion. Capital slipped abroad at an annualised pace of $1 trillion in the second half of 2015. In the third quarter, China's outward foreign-direct investment rose from $29 billion to $32 billion while inward investment fell sharply, from $71 billion to $39 billion; at $7 billion, the net flow of inward investment was the lowest since 2000. 
尽管有这些预防措施,中国目前却面临着它自己的金融危机。鉴于资本外逃和资产价值的不断缩水,中国的储备已经从顶点下降了将近7000亿美元。去意已决的资金长期以来一直在渗出中国的围墙;一场更大外流的种种迹象在2015年下半年出现了。储备在去年12月一个月就下降了超过1000亿美元。资本在2015年下半年以年化1万亿美元的速度流向了国外。中国外流的外国直接投资,在去年第三季度,从290美元上升至320亿美元,而流入的投资却急剧下降,从710亿美元将至390亿美元;70亿美元的投资净流入是2000年以来最低的。
 
An anti-corruption drive, slowing growth and rising American interest rates are all partly to blame. Once begun, however, capital flight can be hard to control. Chinese citizens can move a maximum of $50,000 abroad each year. If just 5% of the population used its quota, China's reserves would evaporate. The authorities are desperate to prevent such an outcome, and the severe tightening of domestic credit conditions it would entail, but there is no painless way to do so.
反腐推动、增长减速以及美国加息都多多少少地负有责任。然而,一旦开始,资本外逃可能是难以控制的。中国公民每年最多能向国外转移50000美元。哪怕只有5%的人口使用这一配额,中国的外汇储备也会蒸发殆尽。当局迫切希望阻止一场这样的外流以及这种外流会带来的国内信贷条件的急剧收紧。但是,不吃苦却能办成事的办法是不存在的。
 
Many economists reckon China will allow the yuan to fall. After all, the currency has appreciated by 20% against a broad range of currencies since 2012, thanks to rising wages and a peg to the strengthening dollar. Yet a sinking yuan poses threats. Roughly $1 trillion of China's accumulated debts are denominated in dollars. That is small beer next to $28 trillion in total Chinese debt. But because Chinese firms are so highly leveraged, even a small rise in the cost of servicing dollar-denominated debts could force some into asset sales or bankruptcy. That, in turn, would encourage more capital outflows, depressing the yuan's value still further.
许多经济学家认为,中国将会允许人民币下跌。毕竟,自2012年以来,人民币已经因为工资上涨且与强势美元挂钩而对一揽子货币升值了20%。然而,一个跌跌不休的人民币会带来种种威胁。在中国所积累的债务中,大约有1万亿美元是以美元计价的。虽说这只占中国28万亿美元总债务的一小部分。但是,由于中国企业使用了高杠杆,偿还美元债务成本的些许上升也可能迫使其中的一些企业变卖资产或者走向破产。这继而又会促使更多的资本外流,进一步压低人民币币值。
 
The economy could expect only a modest boost to exports for its trouble. Since much of the material that goes into Chinese exports is itself imported, devaluation does not boost exports that much. It also squeezes the purchasing power of Chinese consumers and thus slows the rebalancing of its economy from investment to consumption, while irking America and encouraging competitive devaluations elsewhere.
经济体也许只能寄望于对于出口的一个温和刺激。由于中国出口的绝大部分原材料本身是进口的,因而贬值不可能如此地提振出口。同时,贬值还会挤压中国消费者的购买力,从而使得其经济从投资到消费的再平衡慢下来。与此同时,它还会激怒美国并促成其他地方的竞争性贬值。
 
Alternatively, China could hold the yuan's value steady. The big depreciations of the late 1990s were done out of necessity rather than by choice, after all. Investors fleeing from Thailand, for instance, converted their baht to dollars on their way out. When the government ran short of greenbacks, it had no option but to repay investors with many fewer dollars per baht. Yet China still has $3.3 trillion of hard currency in reserve.
作为一种选择,中国可能会保持人民币币值稳定。上世纪90年代末期的大贬值毕竟是出于需要而非主动的选择。例如,当时逃离泰国的投资者曾在出逃时将泰铢换成美元。当政府手中的美元不够用时,它除了用已经对美元大幅贬值的泰铢来偿还投资者之外别无选择。然而,中国仍然拥有3.3万亿美元的储备。
 
Stability poses its own problems, however. If China resists depreciation and capital outflows continue, the erosion of reserves could puncture the PBOC's air of invulnerability, leading to faster capital leakage. A commitment to a strong yuan could also constrain China's monetary policy. Cuts to interest rates tend to diminish a currency's value. Any attempt to maintain it under such circumstances hastens the depletion of reserves.
然而,稳定本身也会造成问题。如果中国拒绝贬值而且资本继续外流的话,储备的减少就可能破掉中国央行刀枪不入的金身,带来更快的资本外流。另外,对强势人民币的承诺也会限制中国的货币政策。降息往往会造成货币贬值。任何在这种情况下维持人民币币值的尝试都会加速储备的消耗。
 
Why not strengthen capital controls, in that case? In 1998 Malaysia imposed controls on fleeing investors and outperformed some other crisis-hit economies, such as Indonesia. The government is cracking down on the underground financiers in Macau and banks in Hong Kong that help sneak Chinese cash past the controls. If ordinary citizens began moving savings abroad in greater numbers, China could reduce the limit on foreign transfers. Yet backtracking on planned reforms would be a huge embarrassment for China's leaders, who have laboured long and hard to raise the yuan's status internationally. It would also deter foreign investors, worsening the short-run foreign-exchange picture and long-run growth prospects.
为什么不在这种情况下加强资本管制呢?马来西亚曾在1998年对外逃投资者实施资本管制,其经济的表现一度超过了印尼等其他遭受危机重创的国家。中国政府正在澳门和香港打击帮助中国人把现金绕过管制流往国外的地下钱庄和银行。如果普通公民开始大量地把储蓄转移到国外,中国有可能降低对外国转账的上限。然而,对于长期以来一直在努力提高人民币国际地位但又难以做到这一点的中国领导人来说,让既定的改革走回头路不仅会是一大尴尬。而且还会吓着外国投资者,恶化短期的外汇前景和长期的增长前景。
 
Faith no more
信心不再

Ample reserves, capital controls, a trade surplus and a determinedly interventionist state mean that China is a long way from a full-fledged crisis. Neither is all the apparent capital flight as worrying as it might appear: purchases of foreign securities by Chinese corporates may look like a stampede for the exits, but can serve to hedge firms with foreign-currency debts against depreciation. But there is good reason for nervousness, in China and elsewhere. All the countries afflicted by the Asian crisis combined accounted for a much smaller share of global output in 1998 than China does now. And China seems not to have absorbed the most important lesson of that crisis: that confidence matters.
充足的储备、资本管制、贸易盈余和坚定的国家干预意味着中国离一场全面危机还很远,愈发明显的资本外逃也不如看上去那样令人担忧:中国企业购买外国证券产品行为看上去像是一场争先恐后的逃命,但是,这可能是拥有外币债务的企业对冲贬值的一种措施。但是,有充分的理由令中国和其他一些国家神经紧张起来。所有深受亚洲金融危机影响的国家,1998年在全球产出的合计占比要比当前中国小很多。同时,中国似乎没有吸取那场危机最重要的教训:信心至关重要。



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