日本教训 Japanese lessons

作者:未知 来源:经济学人 2013-02-18

Finance and Economics; The global crash; Japanese lessons;
财经;全球危机;日本教训;

After five years of crisis, the euro area risks Japanese-style economic stagnation;
经过五年危机,欧元的状况正冒着日本当年经济模式停滞的风险;

Five years ago, things looked rosy. In the first week of August 2007 forecasts by investors and major central banks predicted growth rates of 2-3% in America and Europe. But on August 9th 2007 everything changed. A French bank, BNP Paribas, announced big losses on subprime-mortgage investments. The same day, the European Central Bank (ECB) was forced to inject 95 billion EURO(130 billion DOLLAR at the time) of emergency liquidity. The crisis had begun.
五年前,世界经济比较乐观。2007年8月的第一周,观察人员和主要银行人员预计美国和欧洲会有2-3%的增长率。但在同年8月9日事态改变。法国巴黎银行宣布其在次贷投资商损失惨重。同一年,欧洲央行强行注入950亿欧元(在当时约合13000亿美元)作为紧急流动资金。危机已然开始。

During the first year, policymakers looked to Japan as a guide, or rather a warning. Japan's debt bubble had caused a “lost decade”, from 1991 to 2001. Analysts commonly drew three lessons. To avoid Japanese-style stagnation it was vital, first, to act fast; second, to clean up battered balance-sheets; and, third, to provide a bold economic stimulus. If Japan is taken as the yardstick, America and Britain have a mixed record. The euro area looks as if it might be turning Japanese.
危机开始的第一年,政策制定者把日本看作是一个参照物,或者说是个警告。从1991到2001期间,日本的债务泡沫带来了“低迷的十年”。分析者得出了三点教训。为了不上演日本式的萧条,一要快速采取行动;二要清理糟糕的资产负债;还有第三点出台有力的经济刺激行动。如果日本被看作标尺,美国和英国则有个混杂的记录。欧元区看来是要重蹈日本当年的状况。

Debts took years to build up. Take the American consumer. Debt was around 70% of GDP in 2000, and grew at around 4 percentage points a year to reach close to 100% of GDP by 2007. The same was true of European banks and governments: debts rose hugely but steadily. It was not hard to spot debt mountains forming.
这几年负债不断增加。以美国消费者为例,在2000年,负债占到GDP的约70%,而在2007年,这一指标在一年上升了4%达到接近GDP100%的水平。同样的事情发生在欧洲银行和政府上:负债升幅稳定但数量巨大。不难想象负债这座大山已开始形成。

The crisis erupted with the realisation that subprime exposures were widespread. Many assets were worth less in the market than they had been bought for. Debts started to look unsustainable and interest rates jumped. This meant governments, consumers and banks, after building up debt slowly, suddenly faced much higher costs, as debts matured and they were forced to refinance at higher rates.
危机随着次贷问题的蔓延而火速爆发。很多资产相比买来的时候已不值几个钱。负债开始变得不可支撑而且利率可开始飙升。这意味着随着负债不断增加,政府、消费者和银行突然面临着过高成本,因为当债务到期,他们要面临更高利率的贷款。

The reaction was quick. By the end of 2008 the Federal Reserve, the ECB and the Bank of England had slashed official interest rates. Their aim was to offset the spike in debt costs that companies and consumers were facing. The cuts were fast by Japanese standards (see top right-hand chart). It seemed the first lesson had been learnt.
相关部门对此作出快速反应。在2008年末,美联储、欧洲央行和英国银行已经削减了官方利率。他们的目标是冲抵公司和消费者要面临的高债务支出。这种削减相对于日本当年的反应速度是很快的。看上去我们吸取了第一个教训。

Falling asset prices meant that many banks and firms had debts that outweighed their assets. The Japanese experience showed that the next job was to deal with these broken balance-sheets. There are three main options: renegotiate debt, raise equity or go bankrupt.
下降的资产价格意味着很多银行和公司拥有的负债超过了资产。日本经验表明下一个任务是解决这些糟糕的资产负债表。这有三个主要的选择:重新谈判债务、提高权益或是破产。

In the efforts to reinvigorate balance-sheets, debt investors have reigned supreme. Debts have been honoured. Indeed, a recent report from Deutsche Bank shows that even investors in risky high-yield debt have had five great years. Bank bonds in America have returned 31%; in Europe, 25%.
为了重振资产负债表,债务投资者首当其冲。负债已被承兑。最近德意志银行的报道称即使是投资高风险的债券投资家,他们也曾有五年盈利的时候。美国的银行债券重回31%,英国为25%。

As asset values fell, debt maintained its fixed value. This meant that equity, the balance-sheet shock-absorber, had to fall in value. So although debt caused the problem, equity took the pain. A Dow Jones index of bank equity is down by more than 60% since 2007, according to Deutsche Bank. Some banks' share prices are down by more than 95%.
随着资产价值下降,负债维持在固定值。这意味着权益这个资产负债表的缓冲剂,需要下调其价值。所以尽管负债制造了问题,但权益要为其吞下苦果。据德意志银行称,从2007年起银行股本的道琼斯指数下降超过60%。一些银行的股价也下降了超过95%

In many cases, the equity buffers were too small, so governments stepped in, taking equity stakes in banks. In both America and Europe governments stood behind their financial sectors. Balance-sheets were repaired. It seemed the second lesson from Japan had been learnt too.
在很多事件中,权益的缓冲效果太弱了,所以政府介入来干预银行的权益。美国和欧洲政府都支持自己的财政部门。资产负债表也得到修理。看上去从日本学到的第二个教训也奏效了。

But the clean-up just moved the problem on. Governments borrowed to fund the bail-outs. So banks' balance-sheets were strengthened at the expense of public ones. America's support for the banks cost 5% of GDP; Britain's cash injection into its ailing banks was 9% of GDP. And household debt was still high.
但是这个清理却带来的问题。政府借款来救市。 所以银行的资产负债表因公共支出而得到加强。美国对银行的救助花费了大约5%的GDP;英国对形势不好的银行的资金注入也达到9%的GDP数额。家庭负债依然很高。

A third lesson from Japan was to seek a strong stimulus: in a growing economy, high debt need not be a problem. Take a household's finances. A large mortgage is fine as long as breadwinners' incomes are sufficient to pay the interest and leave some to spare. Inflation helps too, as debts are fixed at their historical values but wages should rise with inflation.
日本的第三个教训告诉我们的是要寻求一个有力的刺激行动:在高速发展的经济下,高负债不是个大问题。以家庭财政为例,只要家里的收入能付得起利息和留存一些利润,那么高的借贷也没什么不好的。通货膨胀看上去对高借贷也是有好处的,因为以历史价值估计的债务是固定的,然而工资是会随着通货膨胀增加的。

Following Japan's example, central banks engaged in “quantitative easing” (QE), buying bonds for newly created cash (see bottom left-hand chart). This aims to drive up bond prices, lowering yields and making debt manageable. The QE programmes have been bolder than Japan's and corporate-bond yields have indeed fallen (see Buttonwood).
向日本经验学习,中央银行要使用“量化宽松”用新印好的钱来买债券。其目的是抬升债券价格,降低收益使之变得可控。量化宽松比日本出台的政策更大胆,企业债券也下降了。

But although policymakers learnt some lessons from Japan, there are reasons to worry about the next five years. In Britain and America there are two main concerns. First, the fiscal stimulus may not be bold enough and in Britain is being withdrawn before the economy is back on its feet. Having supported banks, governments are trying to cut deficits and have little to spend. Richard Koo of Nomura, a bank, reckons Japan's experience shows that governments should increase borrowing to mop up private-sector savings.
但尽管政策制定者从日本经验中学到了不好,但对于接下来的五年的担心还是有理由的。在英国和美国有两大忧虑。一是,财政刺激行动不够有力,在英国财政刺激行动在经济复苏前就不见踪影。为了支持银行,政府努力减少赤字和政府开支。野村证券的理查德 古猜测政府应该提高借债以结束私人储蓄。

Second, government bail-outs can have long-term costs. In some cases, broken balance-sheets are a sign of a broken business model; bankruptcy is then a better option, cleansing the economy of unproductive firms. Japan kept too many bad firms going. There are signs of that in America and Britain too. The American government's bail-outs ran to over 601 billion DOLLAR, with 928 recipients across banking, insurance and car industries. Britain has large stakes in two of its four big banks and has no clear plans to sell them.
第二,政府救市面临着长期成本。在一些实践中,糟糕的资产负债表是不好的商业模式的一个标志;破产是更好的出路,把经济状况不好的公司清除出去。日本保留了太多不好的公司,美国和英国也是。美国的救市开支超过了6010亿美元,救助了银行、保险业和汽车公司共928家的实体。出售英国四家大银行的其中两家有很大的风险而且没什么好办法出售他们。

The euro area is in a more dangerous position. Its recovery has been painfully slow (see bottom right-hand chart). Its prospects look grim: data released on August 1st showed German, French and Italian manufacturing contracting at an increasing rate (dragging Britain down with them). And to the meagre stimulus and zombification of industry can be added a third Japanese trait—policy indecision. On August 2nd Mario Draghi, the ECB's head, indicated the bank's readiness to buy bonds again as part of a co-ordinated rescue plan. Stockmarkets initially fell, suggesting the investors are unconvinced that it will save the euro area from aping Japan.
欧元区处在更危险的境地。它的复苏慢的可怕。它的前景惨淡:8月1日公布的数据显示德国、法国和意大利的制造业正以增长的速度在萎缩(英国也被拖下水)。对于不足的刺激行动和萎靡的行业状况可看作是日本教训的第三个特征——政策无能。8月2号,欧洲央行行长德拉吉暗示说银行迅速购买债券是协调救市计划的一部分。股市明显下降,说明投资者不相信它能像日本一样复苏,拯救欧元区。

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