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欧洲如何走出经济泥潭?

作者:未知 来源:未知 2014-08-28 我要评论( )

How Europe can get out of its economic mess

欧洲如何走出经济泥潭?

There is simply no easy fix for Europe’s depressed economy.

欧洲经济要想摆脱低迷,没有任何捷径可走。

While another healthy dose of monetary stimulus might help bring down the fever and provide some short-term relief, it won’t cure the patient. For that, Europe needs to take on some tough structural reform aimed at attracting a steady stream of private investment. While that’s no easy task, it’s hardly impossible.

虽然新一轮货币刺激可能帮助减缓一些症状,带来短期的好转,却无法真正达到“治愈”的效果。欧洲要想彻底走出经济泥潭,必须实施坚定的结构改革以吸引稳定的私人投资。要完成这个任务并不容易,但也不是不可能的。

Data released Thursday on the health of Europe’s economy painted a bleak picture. Overall economic growth in the second quarter of the year was flat, effectively ending an economic recovery on the continent some had believed was just in its infancy. Among the economic losers was Germany, Europe’s largest and most resilient market. Its economy contracted 0.2% from the previous quarter on weak consumer sentiment and tepid industrial production.

上周四公布的欧洲经济状况数据描绘出一幅惨淡的图景。今年第二季度,欧元区总体经济增长停滞,结束了许多人认为才刚开始萌芽的经济复苏。经济表现不佳的国家包括欧洲最大、最灵活的市场——德国。由于消费者信心疲弱,工业生产萎靡,德国经济比上一季度萎缩了0.2%。

As for the rest of the continent, while there was some encouraging news from Europe’s periphery, with Spain posting a relatively healthy uptick in GDP, things, for the most part, were pretty depressing. Given how far the economies of Spain and the rest of the periphery have fallen over the last few years, they’ll need to see much stronger growth if they ever hope to get back on sound economic footing.

在其他欧洲国家,虽然一些边缘国家的表现令人鼓舞,西班牙的GDP有相对健康的上涨,但总体表现仍令人沮丧。此外,鉴于过去几年西班牙与其他边缘国经济下滑的幅度之大,要想恢复原有的经济基础,现在的表现还远远不够。

As the sorry economic news hit the tape, sovereign bond yields across the continent fell as investors fled to safety. That increase in demand pushed yields on the German 10-year bond below 1% for the first time ever. Investors were essentially betting that the weak GDP numbers would prod the European Central Bank to set off another round of monetary stimulus, this time through an asset buying program.

随着令人沮丧的经济数据的公布,投资者纷纷逃向安全的市场,欧洲的主权债券收益率随之下跌。德国10年期国债的收益率首次低于1%。投资者们认为,疲弱的GDP数据将促使欧洲央行开始新一轮货币刺激,而这一次将通过资产购买计划实施。

The ECB didn’t react immediately, which isn’t a surprise given that the entire continent is on vacation at the moment. Nevertheless, investors are confident that the central bank will soon move to address the weakness at the heart of Europe’s economy through increased stimulus of some kind.

但欧洲央行并未立即做出反应,这并不意外,因为目前整个欧洲都处在假期。但投资者相信,欧洲央行很快将采取措施,通过增加刺激,解决欧洲核心经济体增长乏力的问题。

That may be true, but it doesn’t shed any light on the fate of Europe’s long-term economic prospects. Such heavy doses of monetary stimulus may move rates, but it won’t foster economic growth on its own, especially the sort of long-term growth needed on the continent.

这或许是正确的,但对于欧洲的长期经济前景没有任何助益。这种“大剂量”的货币刺激可能会推高利率,但却无法促进经济增长,尤其是目前欧洲大陆迫切需要的长期增长。

Just look at Japan. Its economy has been in a slow and painful decline for the past 25 years. That’s because Japan thought it could solve its economic issues by throwing money at the problem and hoping the bad news would just go away. When bond yields fell below 1%, it too embarked on round after round of monetary stimulus and quantitative easing in the hopes of reigniting growth. A decade later, Japan is no better. It reported a 6.8% (annualized) drop in its GDP on Tuesday for the second quarter. While much of that decrease has been attributed to an increase in the state consumption tax, it remains a sizable move to the downside.

以日本为例。日本经济缓慢而痛苦地衰退了25年。因为日本认为,它可以通过货币政策解决经济问题,期望坏消息很快会消失。当债券收益率低于1%时,日本也开始了一轮接一轮的货币刺激和量化宽松,希望能促进经济增长。十年后,日本经济依旧未见好转。上周二公布的第二季度经济数据显示,日本当季GDP较上一年缩水了6.8%。虽然很大程度上要归因于日本国内消费税上调,但这样的下降幅度依旧令人意外。

Japan’s latest move to boost its economic fortunes isn’t looking like it’s working, either. The radical plan, which would see its central bank essentially doubling the money supply in a bid to fight off deflation, hasn’t worked out as well as some had hoped.

日本最近的经济刺激措施似乎也并未奏效。其激进的计划实质上就是由央行加大货币供给以应对通货膨胀,但并未达到预期效果。

What Japan needs is some real private investment, not more financial engineering. The same holds true for Europe. Among the most worrisome statistics released Thursday were those concerning investment, which decreased 1.1% in the quarter. Corporate investment was down 0.8%, its 10th consecutive quarter of negative growth. Even worse was household investment, which shrank a horrifying 2.4%. Since the start of the financial crisis, gross fixed capital formation across the European Union has been down a cumulative 15%, according to the German Institute for Economic Research.

日本真正需要的是私人投资,而不是金融工程。欧洲也是如此。在上周四公布的数据中,最令人担忧的是欧洲的私人相关投资第二季度下降了1.1%。公司投资也减少了0.8%,连续第10个季度呈负增长。更糟糕的是家庭投资,萎缩幅度达到2.4%。据德国经济研究所(German Institute for Economic Research)统计,从金融危机爆发以来,欧盟国家的固定资本形成总值累计下降了15%。

The investment shortfall across the eurozone now stands at a staggering 2% of GDP, or about 200 billion euros a year. Something must be done to address this investment shortfall as soon as possible or else Europe could find itself caught in a destructive, deflationary spiral that could take years to unravel.

欧元区的投资差额目前占GDP的比例达到惊人的2%,约每年2,000亿欧元。欧洲必须尽快采取措施解决这一问题,否则将会陷入毁灭性的通货紧缩螺旋,恐怕要等数年之后才能解脱。

So, how can Europe attract more investment?

那么,欧洲如何才能吸引到更多的投资?

Changing its tax laws to encourage and reward people who invest their money in the equity markets would be a good start. Lowering capital gains taxes, or eliminating them altogether, at least temporarily, could help accomplish this. European companies aren’t doing too shabby at the moment, despite the sour economic environment, so investing in them is hardly charity.

修改税法,鼓励并奖励人们将资金投入到股票市场将是一个良好的开端。降低或至少临时性地取消资本收益税,也可以帮助实现这一目标。虽然欧洲经济环境不景气,但欧洲公司的业绩还不太寒碜,所以投资这些公司可不是做慈善。

Europe could also move to create a common investment vehicle aimed at private sector lending. Such a fund has been proposed by the German Institute for Economic Research, which believes it could provide the boost needed to get investment rolling on the continent. They would like to see 100 billion euro (minimum) fund for investments to be made all across the continent—not just on the periphery but in the core countries as well.

欧洲也可以开发一种针对私营部门借贷的通用投资工具。德国经济研究所已经提议建立这样一只基金,该研究所认为,这种基金可以提供足够的推动力,让欧洲大陆的投资活跃起来。他们希望基金规模最低达到1,000亿欧元,在欧洲各地进行投资——不仅包括边缘国家,也包括核心国家。

Both ideas would require harmonization of investment and banking laws across the continent, something that the E.U. has been dragging its feet on for several years now.

这两种方式都需要协调欧洲各国的投资与银行法律,而欧盟在这方面已经拖延了数年时间。

Achieving real and sustainable investment in Europe is going to be tough. It requires not only closer E.U. integration but also a shift in investors’ perceptions of the continent’s economy and its workforce. Investors need to be convinced that Europe really wants to grow and that its leaders won’t sell them out for short-term political gains. When that happens, Europe could see explosive growth. Let’s hope the continent’s leaders don’t take a quarter of a century to figure all this out.

要在欧洲实现真正可持续的投资会面临重重困难。这不仅需要欧盟各国更紧密地融合,也需要改变投资者对欧洲经济及其劳动力的观念。投资者需要确信,欧洲真心希望发展,领导人不会为了短期政治利益而牺牲投资者。如果投资者确立了信心,欧洲将会出现爆炸式增长。但愿欧洲的领导人不会花上四分之一个世纪的时间才能最终解决这一问题。

重点词汇学习:

dose [dəus]
n. 剂量;一剂,一服vi. 服药vt. 给药;给…服药

yield [ji:ld]
vt. 屈服;出产;放弃vi. 屈服,投降n. 产量;收益

downside ['daunsaid]
n. 下降趋势;底侧adj. 底侧的

cumulative ['kju:mju,leitiv]
adj. 累积的

sustainable [sə'steinəbl]
adj. 可以忍受的;足可支撑的;养得起的

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