经济学人双语经济新闻在线试听:世界经济 任重而道远

Lily85 于2013-01-24发布 l 已有人浏览
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Finance and Economics;The world economy;Mountains to climb

August was a nerve-racking month for the world economy. September and October will be no better

Central bankers are not known for seeking solace in the heavens. But at their annual symposium in Jackson Hole, organised by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the world’s leading monetary mavens could be found, after dinner, peering enthusiastically into telescopes set up by the local astronomy club. As he spied the M82 galaxy, 12m light-years away, one central banker remarked: “That puts our problems into perspective.”

On the ground, though, those problems are as big as ever. Christine Lagarde, the new managing director of the IMF, voiced a collective sentiment when she said the world economy found itself in a “dangerous new phase”. Things could get riskier still in the coming weeks.
尽管研讨会当场,那些问题像原来一样严重,当国际货币基金组织(IMF)新总裁克里斯蒂娜·拉加德(Christine Lagarde)认为世界经济处于“危险的新阶段”,她说出了集体的观点。在接下来的几周,经济形势有可能会更加危险。

In America, the worry is dashed expectations. The Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee next meets on September 20th and 21st and has scheduled an extra day’s discussion on its arsenal of unconventional monetary weapons. Wall Street hopes it will mark the onset of “QE3”, another big bout of bond-buying. The mood in Jackson Hole suggested that any action will be modest and incremental.

Many central bankers, including Ben Bernanke, the Fed’s chairman, think it is time for fiscal policy to do more. He gave Congress a scolding at Jackson Hole, arguing that politicians need to address the medium-term fiscal mess while leaving room to cushion the economy now. Barack Obama is working on a jobs plan but the chances of a political rapprochement on issues like America’s payroll-tax cut, due to expire soon, remain uncertain. No deal implies sharply tighter fiscal policy.
包括美联储主席本·伯南克(Ben Bernanke)在内的很多央行行长认为,到了财政政策发挥更大作用的时候了。伯南克在杰克逊霍尔大会上大肆责骂国会,认为政客们应该集中精力解决中期的财政混乱,同时给目前的经济留下缓冲的空间。奥巴马总统正着手于一项就业计划,但是在即将到期的美国减少工资税等问题上两党达成协议可能性仍然不确定。没有达成协议意味着更紧的财政政策。

Far more serious danger lies in Europe. Policymakers there put great faith in an agreement they struck on July 21st, which promised more money for Greece as well as more resources and a broader remit for the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). That expanded role is due to be ratified by euro-zone parliaments in the next few weeks. The European Central Bank (ECB) regards its recent decision to buy Spanish and Italian bonds as a stopgap until the expanded EFSF is up and running.

But three shadows hang over the EFSF. First, the political timetable for its ratification could slip. Potential causes include Finnish demands for collateral against its contribution to the Greek bail-out and a vote by Germany’s constitutional court, due on September 7th, on the legality of the rescue package (see table).

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Second, there is growing confusion about what the revamped rescue fund should do. Europe’s central bankers are desperate for it to take over the bond-buying duties if markets stay skittish over Italy and Spain. Ms Lagarde is pushing another priority. She thinks Europe’s banks urgently need more capital to “cut the chains of contagion” and wants a mandatory recapitalisation, using public funds if necessary and the EFSF in particular. In effect, the IMF wants a repeat of what America’s Treasury did in 2008, when it bullied big banks into taking capital injections.

Many Europeans were furious at Ms Lagarde’s comments, denying any serious capital shortage and arguing instead that if there is a problem, it is one of attracting funding from skittish wholesale markets. Jean-Claude Trichet, the ECB’s president, tried to damp down even that concern, pointing out that banks could tap unlimited liquidity at the ECB and that they had ample collateral left to post in return.
很多欧洲人对拉加德的评论大为光火,他们否认存在任何严重的资本短缺,同时争论如果存在问题的话,那也是如何从活跃的批发市场吸引资金的问题。欧洲中央银行行长让·克罗德·特里谢(Jean-Claude Trichet)试图消除这样的担心,他指出各银行能够从欧洲中央银行取得无限制的流动资金,反过来,欧洲中央银行则可以获得足够的保证金。

Mr Trichet is right, but only up to a point. The sheer scale of European’ banks’ funding needs (about 1.7 Euro trillion, or 2.5 dollor trillion, in the next three years) is daunting: an idea from Morgan Stanley, to use the EFSF to offer European guarantees on new bank debt, has gained traction recently. And illiquidity is a symptom of concerns about solvency. So Ms Lagarde is right that strengthening banks’ buffers is important. The July stress tests, which did not allow for sovereign defaults, offer scant guidance. Using the market price of sovereign bonds, the IMF thinks that European banks could have unrecognised losses of Euro200 billion, meaning lots more capital would be needed. The EFSF is one sensible source.

The third and biggest reason to worry is that the EFSF is too small. The fund is being increased to Euro440 billion. But subtract the money already committed to bail-outs as well as the extra Greece might need if “voluntary” private debt-restructuring falls short (see article), and only around Euro 200 billion may be left. At the ECB’s current pace of bond-buying (Euro 6 billion-22 billion a week), that will not last long, especially if some is also set aside for banks.

European politicians are unlikely to cough up more, so much discussion behind the scenes is about how to lever up the rescue facility. Daniel Gros of the Centre for European Policy Studies and Thomas Mayer of Deutsche Bank think the EFSF should be registered as a bank and allowed to borrow from the ECB, using the government bonds it buys as collateral. That kind of arms-length arrangement, they argue, would be much better than having the ECB buy bonds itself, and would give the EFSF huge firepower. Conservative central bankers worry that it would still break the rule that bans direct purchases by the ECB, in spirit at least.
欧洲政客不愿意被迫支付更多,秘密地讨论如何抬高救援额度。欧洲政策研究中心的丹尼尔·格罗斯(Daniel Gros)和德意志银行的托马斯·梅耶尔(Thomas Mayer)认为,欧洲金融稳定机构(EFSF)应该以银行资质进行注册并且能够将其购买的国债作为抵押从欧洲中央银行贷款。他们认为,这种保持距离的安排将比欧洲中央银行自己购买国债要好很多,而且将给予欧洲金融稳定机构(EFSF)更大的能力。保守的央行行长们担心这仍将会破坏禁止欧洲中央银行直接购买债券的规定,至少在精神上破坏了规矩。

An alternative, quietly touted by some North American officials, is to tempt investors into buying bonds by giving them access to non-recourse loans from the ECB. The model is another American innovation from the financial crisis—the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF. Soft loans from the Fed were designed to tempt investors into buying securities; the Treasury promised to take the first tranche of any losses, thus protecting the Fed. In a European version, cheap, non-recourse loans would encourage investors to buy Italian or Spanish bonds and bring down yields. The ECB would provide leverage, but any initial losses would be borne by the EFSF. The facility’s resources would be magnified, private investors would be drawn in and the price of bonds would still be set by the market.

Dusting off America’s crisis-management ideas makes sense: they were effective. But Europe’s task is far harder, not just because there are many more parties involved but because the end goal is so unclear. American officials were battling the temporary collapse of a financial system. European politicians need to create a new one, either with a more integrated fiscal union or a break-up of the current euro area. Without political leadership, the technocrats cannot solve the problem.

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