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英语新闻:一张图说明美国经济为何可能走向衰退

2015-05-13    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:一张图说明美国经济为何可能走向衰退

英语新闻:

It’s been a pretty miserable couple of weeks for the U.S. economy.

Last week, the Commerce Department announced that GDP growth in the first quarter of 2015 fell dramatically to 0.2% on an annualized basis. But after new data released Tuesday showed that the trade deficit in March was far higher than economists had expected, it’s likely that GDP in the first quarter actually shrank.

For now, most economists expect that the economy will bounce back in the second quarter of 2015, just like it did last year, and that overall real growth will beat last year’s performance of 2.4%.

But a new analysis from Jodi Gunzberg, global head of commodities at S&P Dow Jones Indices, argues against this consensus, and instead makes the case that we’re headed for another recession.Gunzberg points to the outstanding performance of commodities in April as measured by the S&P GSCI index, which gained 11.1% that month, the 19th best month since the index first starting tracking these commodities back in 1970. Two groups of commodities–energy and industrial metals–did particularly well, rising by a combined 12.67% in April. It’s not common for these two groups of commodities to surge in value at the same time. According to Gunzberg, the two indices have only moved in tandem about 30% of the time since 1983. And there have only been 12 months in which the energy and industrial metals sectors have risen more than they did in April:

As you can see, the months in which these sectors did well are clustered around times leading up to a recession. Gunzberg argues that this is because firms that rely on these materials—like oil and natural gas in the energy sector, and copper and aluminum in the metals sector—start buying up these materials in bulk when they sense their performance is about to start waning. “When you look at broad economic cycles,” says Gunzberg “equities lead the cycle, while commodities are on the cycle.”


In other words, as the market nears a top, and companies are flush with cash and capital, but short on faith in their future performance, they start to hoard the basic commodities that power the global economy. But eventually their performance takes a turn for the worse, and so does demand for raw materials.

Of course, Gunzberg’s data goes back by just 30 years, and it predicts only three recessions. It’s possible that these data only point to strange coincidences rather than something with real predictive power. But with the U.S. in its 70th month of economic expansion–the sixth longest the U.S. economy has had since 1850–the slowdown in the first quarter may very well be more than just a blip.

deficit:n.不足额; 赤字; 亏空

in tandem: adv.一前一后地,协力地

hoard: v.积蓄,贮藏

coincidence: n.巧合; 一致; 同时存在

predictive: adj.预言性的,成为前兆的

blip: n.(统计数字的)上下浮动; 雷达的可视信号

(财富中文网)


近几周,美国经济表现相当惨淡。

之前美国商务部宣布的数据显示,2015年一季度GDP初值环比仅增长0.2%。但随后发布的新数据显示,三月份美国贸易赤字要远比经济学家预期的更高,因此一季度GDP实际上有可能是萎缩的。

目前,大多数经济学家预计,美国经济将在第二季度和去年一样出现反弹,GDP全年实际增长率将超过去年的2.4%。

不过,这个观点遭到了标普道琼斯指数公司大宗商品部全球负责人朱迪•冈兹伯格的反驳,他在一份新的分析报告中表明,新一轮衰退即将到来。冈兹伯格指出,以标普高盛商品指数来衡量,大宗商品表现出色,该指数4月上涨了11.1%,涨幅在1970年该指数创立以来的所有月份中可排到第19位。其中,能源和工业金属两类大宗商品的表现尤其突出,四月份平均增长12.67%。这两类商品在同一时期出现价格激增并不常见。据冈兹伯格说,自1983年以来,只有大约30%的时间里能源指数与工业金属指数的表现是同步的,而涨幅高于今年四月的情况,过去几十年里只有12个月出现过。(如下图)

 可以看出,两类商品均表现较好的月份往往集中在经济衰退前。冈兹伯格认为,这是因为依赖这些原材料(如能源类的石油、天然气和金属类的铜、铝)的企业,通常在感觉业绩要下滑时开始大量购进原材料,他说:“如果多观察几轮经济周期就会发现,股市先于经济周期而动,而大宗商品则与经济周期基本同步。”

换言之,市场接近顶部,企业现金和资本也很充足的情况下,如果对未来业绩缺乏信心,企业就会囤积对全球经济发展较重要的基础原材料——大宗商品。但随着他们的业绩恶化,市场对原材料的需求最终也会减弱。

当然,冈兹伯格的数据仅包括过去30年,涉及的经济衰退也只有三次。有可能出现这样的数据只是偶然的巧合,并不能作为预测的依据。但眼下美国经济已连续第70个月增长,持续时间已达到1850年以来的有史第6长,这么看来第一季度的经济增长放缓很可能不仅是个偶发异常现象。



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