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经济学人:中国经济不咋地

2014-06-24    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

China;中国;

China's economy;中国经济;

Not with a bang;不咋地;

China's property prices and its local-government debt have started rising again. That may be a good thing
中国的房地产价格和地方政府债务又开始上升了,这或许是件好事

FangZhuang, a high-rise neighbourhood tucked inside Beijing's third ring road, was one of China's first commercial housing projects. Its four divisions share a park, schools, a courthouse and a Carrefour supermarket. Characters in the divisions' four names combine to mean “stars of the ancient world”. Back in 1990 Fangzhuang flats sold for about 1,500 yuan (234 Dollar at today's rate) per square metre, according to Credit Suisse, a bank. Since then, prices have reached for the stars of the modern world, exceeding 30,000 yuan in that part of Beijing.
挤在北京三环内的高层住宅区——方庄,曾是中国第一个商业住宅项目。它的四个小区共用一个公园、学校、一个法院和一个家乐福超市。将这四个小区名字中间的汉字连起来就是“古城群星”。根据瑞士信贷——一家银行(的消息),早在1990年,方庄公寓大概卖1500元(按今天的汇率合234美元)一平米。从那以后,价格就成了当世巨星,北京那一块的价格超过了3万元。

China's unruly property market was once dubbed, with excusable hyperbole, the “most important sector in the entire global economy” by Jonathan Anderson, then at UBS, another Swiss bank. It remains the biggest fear hanging over the world's second-biggest economy. Home prices began falling about a year ago. The declines have depressed investment and curtailed economic growth, which slowed to 7.6% in the second quarter, its slowest rate since 2009.
中国不规范的房地产市场曾被当时在瑞银信贷——另一家瑞士银行——的乔纳森安德森封为“整个全球经济中最重要的部分”,(这里)运用了适当的夸张。它还是悬在世界第二大经济体之上的最大担忧。住宅价格约一年前开始下跌。该下跌抑制了投资,还缩减了经济增长,二季度经济增长减缓至7.6%——2009年以来最慢的增长率。

The only economic anxiety to rival property is local-government debt. Estimated at 10.7 trillion yuan at the end of 2010 by official auditors (and a lot higher by unofficial ones), much of it was held at one remove by so-called local-government financing vehicles. When one such, Yunnan Highway Development and Investment, told creditors in 2011 that it would not repay the principal on their loans, it was described (with equal hyperbole) as the “default heard around the world” by Business Insider, a news website.
唯一能与房地产匹敌的经济上的忧虑就是地方政府债务了。2010年底官方审计部门估计有1.7万亿元(然而非官方估计要高出很多),其中很多(丛政府)隔离出来让所谓的地方政府融资平台持有。当这样的一家公司——云南高速公路开发投资公司,在2011年告诉债权人将不会归还他们贷款的本金时,这被一家新闻网站——《商业内幕》——形容(运用适当夸张)为“地球人都知道的违约”。

Both worries have roots in the stimulus spree on which China embarked in November 2008. State-owned enterprises began bidding enthusiastically in land auctions, and local governments let their pet projects run wild. Ever since, the two problems have preoccupied China's central government. In April 2010 it put curbs on speculative homebuying and spent much of last year tidying up local finances. This spring, Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, boasted that local-government debt had grown by a mere 300m yuan in 2011.
这些忧虑都源于中国2008年11月着手的经济刺激计划。国有企业开始在土地拍卖中狂热地竞标,而地方政府让他猛宠爱的项目撒野了。从此,这两个问题就困扰中国的中央政府了。在2010年4月,它开始限制投资性住房的买入,还用了去年大部分时间清理地方融资问题。今年春季,总理温家宝自豪地说,2011年地方政府债务只增长了3个亿。

Signs, however, are growing that both property prices and local-government borrowing are rising again. China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that new home prices rose in June in 25 of 70 cities it tracks. They fell in only 21. Sales volumes also strengthened. Prices are still lower, on average, than a year ago. But according to our weighted average of the (new and existing) home prices reported by the NBS, the pace of decline appears to be bottoming out (see chart). By next month (thanks to a lower base), prices may be rising again, year-on-year.
不过,房地产价格和地方政府借款又再增加的迹象开始浮现了。中国国家统计局报告称,六月份它所追踪的70座城市中有25座的新房价格增长了。只有21座城市的下跌了,成交量也增加了。平均价格仍比一年以前便宜。不过,根据我们对统计局报告中(新房及二手)房屋价格的加权平均,下降的步伐貌似要见底回升了(见图)。到下个月(幸亏有个更低的垫底),与去年同期相比,价格可能又要涨了。

Local governments meanwhile have been given leave from their debtors' prison. Reports suggest that China's banking regulator has told banks to increase lending to “better qualified” financing vehicles. These vehicles have also increased their bond sales, issuing over 420 billion yuan-worth of paper already this year.
同时,地方政府也被放出了借款者的牢笼。报告称,中国银行也监管机构已经让各家银行对“更有资格”的融资平台增加贷款。这些融资平台也早就增发他们的债券,今年就已经发行了价值超过4200亿元的纸张了。

These twin turnarounds might be good news—a sign that property prices have stabilised and local governments have restored their creditworthiness. But they could also be signs of desperation, evidence that the central government has lost its nerve in the face of falling growth.
这一对转变可能是个好消息——标志着房地场价格已趋于平稳,而且地方政府也已重铸其贷款信誉。但这也可能是绝境的信号,证明中央政府已经在下降的经济增长面前失去了勇气。

The rise in local-government borrowing is something in between: a defensible response to a worrying slowdown. China's economy does need help, and its government has ample scope to provide it. Some local governments took on more debt than they could handle. But their liabilities never endangered the fiscal position of the country as a whole. The combined debts of China's central and local governments add up to about 50% of the country's GDP (including bonds issued by the Ministry of Railways and China's policy banks, intended for state-directed lending). Even if local debts are understated, China has fiscal room for error. Local governments will also borrow less and invest better than they did in the previous stimulus effort, argues Peng Wensheng of China International Capital Corporation, a Chinese investment bank. “The pressure for policy easing is much less now than it was in November 2008,” he says.
地方政府借款的增长介于两者之间:是对令人忧愁的增长减速的防御性反应。中国经济确实需要帮助,而且政府也有足够的能力提供帮助。一些地方政府承担的债务大到自己无法处理,但它们的债务还无法危及整个国家的财政状况。中国中央和地方政府的债务总合加起来差不多到国家GDP的50% (包括铁道部和国家政策性银行用作国家直接借款而发行的债券)。就算地方政府的债务被低估了,中国也有容纳误差的财政空间。地方政府也会少借点,并且比他们在以前努力刺激时期投资得好一些,中金公司的彭文生反驳道,中金公司是一家中国的投行。他说,“目前进行政策宽松的压力要比2008年11月时的小很多”。

The rebound in the property market is harder to interpret. It may also reflect a misreading of government policy. Some local governments have eased property curbs surreptitiously, hoping to revive construction jobs and land sales (and thus their revenues). The central government is also keen to encourage first-time homebuyers. But it insists that it will still strictly enforce existing curbs on people, especially out-of-towners, buying more than one home. This week the State Council, China's cabinet, said it would send inspectors to 16 cities and provinces to curb backsliding.
房地产市场的回弹则更难解释。它也可能反应出了对政府政策的误读。有些地方政府希望复苏建筑业的就业和土地出让(这就是他们的收入来源),已经偷偷放松了房地产的限制。中央政府也期望能够鼓励初次购房者。但它也坚持仍将严格实施目前的限制,尤其是对外地人和购买多套住房者。本周,中国的议会——国务院声明它将派出巡视员到16个省市去控制倒行逆施。

Yet in most cities, says Jinsong Du of Credit Suisse, it is ever easier to circumvent the rules. He cites one high-profile launch in Shanghai where the flats went for 3m Dollar each. Even the estate agents on site admitted that most buyers already owned several other properties.
瑞士信贷的杜劲松说,但在大多数城市,很容易绕开这些规定。他以上海举了个印象深刻的例子,上海公寓达到了300万美元一套。就连房产中介都承认很多购买者已经拥有了好几处别的房地产。

But surely if China's property market was a burst bubble, even a forthright relaxation of controls would not reflate it? After America's property prices began falling in earnest, policymakers tried in vain for years to revive them. Japan has been trying to perk up prices for more than 20 years.
不过毫无疑问,如果中国房地产市场是破裂的泡沫,就算是直接放松管制也不会让它再膨胀的。美国房地产价格开始下跌之后,政策制定者们试了好几年来重振它们都于事无补。日本试着恢复价格都已经试了20多年了。

China's property dynamics may differ, however. In many asset bubbles, prices are pushed up by greedy investors, who borrow heavily to buy. When their creditors get nervous, they default or dump their assets. These fire sales quickly feed on themselves. But China's property-buyers are often wealthy firms and individuals looking for somewhere to park their savings. Certainly, they see property as an investment. But they do not necessarily expect prices to go through the roof. Give them any prospect of beating inflation in the long run, and they will buy. China, after all, offers few other options.
不过,中国房地产动态可能不同。在很多资产泡沫中,价格被贪婪的投资者推高,他们借了很多去买的。当他们的债权人变得焦急时,他们就会违约或者倾售其资产。这些减价销售很快相互刺激恶化。但中国的房地产购买者常常是一些寻求存放其储蓄之处的富有公司和个人。当然,他们把房地产视为一种投资。不过他们当然没有预料到房价会飞涨。(只要)给他们任何预期能够在长期跑赢通胀的,他们都会买的。毕竟,中国没有提供别的(投资)选择。



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