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英语新闻:为何俄罗斯经济不会崩盘

2014-12-24    来源:财富中文网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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英语新闻:为何俄罗斯经济不会崩盘

英语新闻:

Russia’s ruble may have strengthened sharply Wednesday, but it’s plunge in recent days has encouraged plenty of talk about the country’s catastrophe, with some even proclaiming that the new Russia is about to go the way of the old USSR.

Don’t believe it. Russia is not the United States, and the effects of a rapidly declining currency over there are much less dramatic than they would be in the U.S.

One important thing to remember is that the fall of the ruble has accompanied a precipitous decline in the per barrel price of oil. But the two are not as intimately connected as might be supposed. Yes, Russia has a resource-based economy that is hurt by oil weakness. However, oil is traded nearly everywhere in U.S. dollars, which are presently enjoying considerable strength.

This means that Russian oil producers can sell their product in these strong dollars but pay their expenses in devalued rubles. Thus, they can make capital improvements, invest in new capacity, or do further explorations for less than it would have cost before the ruble’s value was halved against the dollar. The sector remains healthy, and able to continue contributing the lion’s share of governmental tax revenues.

Nor is ruble volatility going to affect the ability of most Russian companies to service their debt. Most of the dollar-denominated corporate debt that has to be rolled over in the coming months was borrowed by state companies, which have a steady stream of foreign currency revenues from oil and gas exports.

Russian consumers will be hurt, of course, due to the higher costs of imported goods, as well as the squeeze inflation puts on their incomes. But, by the same token, exports become much more attractive to foreign buyers. A cheaper ruble boosts the profit outlook for all Russian companies involved in international trade. Additionally, when the present currency weakness is added to the ban on food imports from the European Union, the two could eventually lead to an import-substitution boom in Russia.

In any event, don’t expect any deprivations to inspire riots in the streets of Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s popularity has soared since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. The people trust him. They’ll tighten their belts and there will be no widespread revolt against his policies.

Further, the high price of oil during the commodity supercycle, coupled with a high real exchange rate, led to a serious decline in the Russia’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors over the past 15 years. This correlation—termed by economists “Dutch disease”—lowered the Russian manufacturing sector’s share of its economy to 8% from 21% in 2000.

The longer the ruble remains weak, however, the less Dutch disease will rule the day. A lower currency means investment in Russian manufacturing and agriculture will make good economic sense again. Both should be given a real fillip.

Low oil prices are also good for Russia’s big customers, especially China, with which Putin has been forging ever-stronger ties. If, as expected, Russia and China agree to transactions in rubles and/or yuan, that will push them even closer together and further undermine the dollar’s worldwide hegemony. Putin always thinks decades ahead, and any short-term loss of energy revenues will be far offset by the long-term gains of his economic alliances.

In the most recent development, the Russian central bank has reacted by raising interest rates to 17%. On the one hand, this is meant to curb inflation. On the other, it’s an direct response to the short selling speculators who’ve been attacking the ruble. They now have to pay additional premiums, so the risk/reward ratio has gone up. Speculators are going to be much warier going forward.

The rise in interest rates mirrors how former U.S. Fed Chair Paul Volcker fought inflation in the U.S. in the early ‘80s. It worked for Volcker, as the U.S. stock market embarked on a historic bull run. The Russians —twhose market has been beaten down during the oil/currency crisis —hare expecting a similar result.

Not that the Russian market is anywhere near as important to that country’s economy as the US’s is to its. Russians don’t play the market like Americans do. There is no Jim Kramerovsky’s Mad Money in Russia.

Russia is not some Zimbabwe-to-be. It’s sitting on a surplus of foreign assets and very healthy foreign exchange reserves of around $375 billion. Moreover, it has a strong debt-to-GDP ratio of just 13% and a large (and steadily growing) stockpile of gold.

And there is Russia’s energy relationship with the EU, particularly Germany. Putin showed his clout when he axed the South Stream pipeline and announced that he would run a pipeline through Turkey instead. The cancellation barely lasted long enough to speak it before the EU caved and offered Putin what he needed to get South Stream back on line. Germany is never going to let Turkey be a gatekeeper of European energy security. With winter arriving, the EU’s dependence on Russian oil and gas will take center stage, and the union will become a stabilizing influence on Russia once again.

In short, while the current situation is not working in Russia’s favor, the country is far from down for the count. It will arrest the ruble’s slide and keep pumping oil. Its economy will contract but not crumble. The harsh reality is that American shale fields have much more to fear from plummeting oil prices than the Russians (or the Saudis), since their costs of production are much higher. Many US shale wells will become uneconomic if oil falls much further. And it they start shutting down, it’ll be disastrous for the American economy, since the growth of the shale industry has underpinned 100% of US economic growth for the past several years.

Those waving their arms about the ruble might do better to look at countries facing real currency crises, like oil-dependent Venezuela and Nigeria, as well as Ukraine. That’s where the serious trouble is going to come.

(财富中文网)


俄罗斯卢布虽然在上周三强劲反弹,但之前几天的暴跌,已经让坊间充满“俄罗斯大难临头”的言论;甚至有人预言,今天的俄罗斯将重蹈苏联的覆辙。

别信这些话。俄罗斯并非美国,货币迅速贬值对俄罗斯的影响,远不会像在美国那样严重。

重点是,在卢布汇率下跌的同时,石油价格也在骤降。但两者之间的联系也许不像人们所想的那么紧密。的确,油价下跌对俄罗斯以自然资源为基础的经济产生了不利影响。然而,几乎所有的石油交易都是以美元进行的,而目前美元则相当坚挺。

也就是说,俄罗斯石油生产企业在出售产品时,可以用强劲的美元进行结算,而生产费用则用贬值的卢布来支付。由于卢布兑美元的比价已经下降了将近50%,石油企业可以改善自身的资本状况,或者用更低的成本进行新产能投资,或者继续进行勘探。俄罗斯石油行业依然很健康,并且能够继续为政府贡献大部分税收。

卢布的震荡也不会影响大多数俄罗斯企业的偿债能力。未来几个月中,大多数需要展期的美元债务由俄罗斯国有企业持有,而石油和天然气出口为这些企业提供了稳定的外汇来源。

当然,由于进口商品价格上升,以及通胀对收入的挤压,俄罗斯的消费者将蒙受损失。但出于同样的原因,俄罗斯出口产品将对外国买家更具吸引力。卢布贬值提升了所有参与国际贸易的俄罗斯公司的盈利前景。

不管经济困境如何,都不太可能引发莫斯科的街头骚乱。乌克兰危机爆发以来,俄罗斯总统普京的支持率不断飙升。俄罗斯人信任他。他们会勒紧裤带,而普京的政策则不会遭到广泛的反对。

进一步来看,过去15年中,受处于大宗商品超级周期的高油价的影响,再加上卢布汇率处于高点,俄罗斯的制造业和农业均出现了严重滑坡。这种被经济学家称为“荷兰病”( 指一国经济中某一初级产品部门异常繁荣而导致其他部门的衰落的现象——译注)的状况,让制造业在俄罗斯经济中的比重从2000年的21%降到了现在的8%。

话说回来,卢布保持低迷的时间越长,“荷兰病”的影响就会越小。卢布贬值意味着俄罗斯制造业和农业的投资将带来较好的经济效益,这两个领域都将反弹。

低油价还对俄罗斯的大客户们有利,特别是中国,而普京也一直在加强中俄之间的联系。如果两国以卢布或人民币进行贸易结算如预期那样达成协议,中俄就会走的更近,同时也将进一步削弱美元在全球的统治地位。普京一直着眼长远,他建立经济同盟所带来的长期收益将远远超过能源收入方面的短期损失。

俄罗斯央行的最新应对措施是把利率提高到17%。一方面,这样做是为了遏制通胀。另一方面,这直接反击了那些做空卢布的投机者。现在,这些投机者必须支付更高的溢价,风险/回报比已经上升。今后,投机者会更加小心。

俄罗斯提高利率的做法和20世纪80年代初时任美联储主席的保罗•沃尔克应对通胀的方法如出一辙。沃尔克的措施收效良好,并带来了美国股市前所未有的大牛市。在石油与货币危机重创俄罗斯股市的情况下,俄罗斯人期盼着同样的结果。

不过,在俄罗斯经济中,股市的重要性远不及美国。俄罗斯人也不像美国人那样炒股。在俄罗斯可没有《Mad Money》那样的投资节目。

俄罗斯不会成为津巴布韦。它的经常账户处于盈余状态,外汇储备保持在大约3750亿美元的健康水平。同时,俄罗斯的债务占GDP比率很低,只有13%;而黄金储备充足且保持稳定增长。

俄罗斯和欧盟在能源方面也有联系,特别是和德国。普京曾强硬的取消了与欧盟合作的南流(South Stream)天然气管道项目,并宣称将取道土耳其另建一条管道。话音未落,欧盟方面就做出让步满足了普京的要求,以确保这个项目重新上马。德国永远也不会让土耳其在欧洲能源安全方面发挥“守门员”的作用。随着冬季临近,欧盟对俄罗斯油气的依赖将成为主导因素,而欧盟将再次为稳定俄罗斯局势而施加影响。

简而言之,尽管当前情况不利,但俄罗斯远未倒下。它将止住卢布的下滑势头并继续开采石油。俄罗斯经济将萎缩,但不会崩盘。而严峻的现实是,面对油价直线下降,生产成本居高的美国页岩油气公司要担心的东西远远超过俄罗斯(或者沙特)。如果油价继续大幅度下跌,美国的许多页岩油井将难以为继。而如果这些油井开始停产,美国经济就会面临灾难,因为这几年美国经济的增长全靠页岩油气行业支撑。

对卢布贬值大惊小怪的人也许更应该看看那些真正面临货币危机的国家,比如高度依赖石油的委内瑞拉和尼日利亚,还有乌克兰。这些才是将要出现大麻烦的地方。

 



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