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为什么说中国不会发生债务危机?
Stop worrying about Chinese debt, a crisis is not brewing

来源:FT中文网    2017-12-06 07:28



        Are rising debt-to-gross domestic product ratios around the world a sign that another financial crisis is looming? At a recent investment conference, I had a heated debate with an economist who claimed that rising indebtedness across the globe was a sure sign of renewed economic sickness and deterioration. “The Minsky moment will return,” he declared, pounding the table. He singled out China as the place where the next financial collapse would occur. Credit expansion there, he said, had grown “too much, too fast”.        在全球范围内,债务与国内生产总值(GDP)的比率不断上升,这是否意味着另一场金融危机即将来临?在最近一次投资会议上,我和一位经济学家进行了激烈的争论,他认为全球债务增长是经济又出了问题、经济状况恶化的确切迹象。他拍着桌子说:“明斯基时刻将重新降临。”他认为中国将是下一次金融崩溃的发生地。他说,中国的信贷扩张得“太多太快了”。
        For decades, the debt-to-GDP ratio has been widely used as the key gauge of a nation’s financial vulnerability. Nevertheless, this measure has proved to be misleading. In the mid-1990s, when Japan’s gross ratio approached 120 per cent, many concluded that the country was heading for fiscal ruin, which would inevitably collapse the bond market and the yen, and cause hyperinflation. What has happened since then is that the total ratio has risen to 250 per cent today, while Japanese government bond yields have fallen to zero. Japan has suffered decades of price deflation.        几十年来,债务与GDP比率一直被广泛用作衡量一个国家金融脆弱性的关键指标。不过,这一指标已被证明是误导性的。上世纪90年代中期,当日本的这个总比率接近120%时,许多人断定日本即将陷入财政危机,这将不可避免地造成该国债券市场和日元崩溃,并导致恶性通胀。而实际上,日本现在的总比率已上升到250%,其国债收益率已降到零。日本经历了数十年的通货紧缩。
        Looking around the world, the levels of interest rates for different countries are negatively correlated with levels of total indebtedness. Countries that have borrowed aggressively — such as Japan, China and Singapore — have very low or zero interest rates. On the other hand, countries that have barely borrowed, including Brazil, Russia and Indonesia, usually pay very high interest rates. This negative correlation is highly significant, disproving the widely held notion that higher debt levels lead to higher risk premia at the macro level.        环顾全球,各国的利率水平与总债务水平呈负相关。大量积累了债务的国家——如日本、中国和新加坡——利率非常低或为零。另一方面,巴西、俄罗斯和印度尼西亚等几乎没有借债的国家通常利率极高。这种负相关性是非常显著的,它在宏观层面推翻了一个广泛持有的观点:较高的债务水平会导致较高的风险溢价。
        How is this negative correlation explained? Interest rates are the price of domestic savings, and countries with more abundant savings almost always have lower interest rates. Moreover, every economy needs to transform its domestic savings into investment, usually through the banking system. It is inevitable, therefore, that countries with higher savings rates have lower interest rates, but higher levels of credit creation (or debt-to-GDP ratios) — because banks need to extend more credit to move larger pools of savings into investment. This means there is nothing wrong with high-saver nations having high ratios.        这种负相关该如何解释?利率是国内储蓄的价格,而储蓄较多的国家几乎总是享有较低的利率。而且,每个经济体都需要将国内储蓄转化为投资——一般是通过银行体系。因此,储蓄率较高的国家不可避免地会有较低的利率,但会有较高的信贷创造水平——或债务与GDP比率,因为银行需要发放更多的信贷,将较为庞大的储蓄转化为投资。这说明高储蓄国家有着高债务比率是没有问题的。
        The fundamental problem with this ratio is that it only provides a narrow snapshot of an economy’s debt picture. Debt is a stock concept, while GDP is a flow. The ratio tells you more about how much of an economy’s accumulated savings have been allocated via the debt channel. It does not tell us anything about a country’s net asset position. Nor does it provide any information on debt-servicing costs or the mix of local versus foreign currency-denominated debt. As such, the debt-to-GDP ratio gives us almost no information on a nation’s ability to sustain its debt.        这一比率的根本问题在于,它只让我们窥见了一个经济体债务图景的局部。债务是一个存量概念,而GDP是一个流量。其比率更多地是告诉你一个经济体中累积的储蓄有多少是通过债务渠道来配置的。它丝毫不说明一个国家的净资产状况,也没有提供关于偿债成本或本外币债务构成的任何信息。因此,债务与GDP比率几乎提供不了关于一个国家偿债能力的任何信息。
        In recent years, the rapid escalation of China’s credit-to-GDP ratio has been watched keenly by the investment community. Many predict that a debt crisis in the country would be the next big event that would bring down the world economy and global financial markets. I disagree. China’s domestic saving rate is 48 per cent, which amounts to almost $6tn of new savings each year. This vast pool of savings primarily relies on state-owned banks for allocation. It is therefore inevitable that the country has a high credit-to-GDP ratio.        近年来,中国的债务与GDP比率的快速上升一直备受投资界关注。许多人预测中国的债务危机将是下一个会拖垮世界经济和全球金融市场的重大事件。我不同意这一观点。中国的国内储蓄率达到48%,相当于每年有近6万亿美元新增储蓄。这个庞大的储蓄池主要依靠国有银行进行配置。这不可避免地导致了中国的信贷与GDP的高比值。
        Furthermore, so-called credit risk in China is, in fact, sovereign risk. The Chinese government often relies on bank credit to finance government stimulus programmes. In 2009, Beijing launched a fiscal package worth more than $600bn to combat the effects of the global recession that followed the financial crisis. Subsequently, Chinese bank credit growth climbed steeply, lifting the credit-to-GDP ratio to new highs. In essence, the Chinese government was using credit expansion to finance fiscal stimulus. This was a credit-based equivalent of the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the US. There, fiscal stimulus programmes are financed by increasing public sector debt. In China, they are often funded by depositors.        而且,中国的所谓信贷风险实际上是主权风险。中国政府往往依靠银行信贷为政府刺激计划提供资金。2009年,北京方面推出了价值逾6000亿美元的财政方案,以应对金融危机后全球经济衰退的影响。随后,中国银行信贷增速大幅攀升,令信贷与GDP比率一再创下新高。实质上,中国政府是利用信贷扩张来为财政刺激提供资金。这相当于是美国“问题资产救助计划”(Troubled Assets Relief Program, Tarp)的一个基于信贷的对等措施。在美国,财政刺激计划的资金来自不断上升的公共部门债务。在中国,这些资金通常由储户提供。
        China has a chronic current account surplus and has been a net creditor to the rest of the world for decades. Beijing’s outstanding public sector debt, valued at about $4tn, is dwarfed by the vast assets controlled by the various levels of governments. Therefore, China’s sovereign risk is extremely low. Importantly, the balance sheets of the Chinese state-owned banks, the government and the People’s Bank of China are all interconnected. Under these circumstances, a debt crisis in China is almost impossible.        中国的经常账户长期处于盈余状态,且几十年来一直是世界其他地方的净债权国。与中国各级政府控制的巨额资产相比,中国的公共部门未偿债务余额——据估计约4万亿美元——相形见绌。所以中国的主权风险极低。重要的是,中国的国有银行、政府和中国人民银行(PBoC)的资产负债表都是相互关联的。考虑到以上这些情况,债务危机在中国几乎是不可能发生的。
        The writer is founding partner and chief global strategist at Alpine Macro        作者是Alpine Macro的创始合伙人兼首席全球策略师
                
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