《经济学人》:全球经济,又是如履薄冰的一年
日期:2011-04-15 10:28

(单词翻译:单击)

The global economy全球经济

Another year of living dangerously又是如履薄冰的一年

Turmoil in the Middle East and disaster in Japan arouse economic angst. Central banks must not make it worse
中东的骚乱和日本的灾难引发经济上的忧虑。各国央行一定不能恶化事态

THIS was supposed to be a stress-free year for the global economy. By January the financial crisis had faded and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis seemed less acute. America’s economy was resurgent. Investors piled into equities and sold some of the government bonds they’d bought for troubled times. If there was a worry, it was that emerging economies would grow too quickly, inflating commodity prices.

人们原本认为全球经济今年将会没有压力。一月份时,金融危机已经消退,欧洲的主权债务危机似乎不再那么严重,美国经济也在复苏。投资者大举买进股本,卖出一部分他们为艰难时期做准备而购买的政府债券。如果说有什么担心的话,那就是担心新兴经济体过快增长会推高物价。

The year without crisis is not to be. First, Arabian upheaval put oil markets on edge. Then earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear accident clobbered the world’s third-largest economy. How much of a setback to growth do these twin crises represent? And how should economic policymakers react to them?

没有危机的一年没有如愿出现。开头是阿拉伯世界的动乱把石油市场推向边缘。接着,地震、海啸和核事故冲击着日本这个世界第三大经济体。这两场危机对经济增长将会产生多大的阻碍作用?经济决策者应当如何应对?

Japan’s share of world output has been shrinking for decades, but at 9% it remains large enough for the hit to the country’s growth to subtract noticeably from global output. Then there are the ripple effects on the rest of the world. Japan is a large—in some cases the sole—supplier of intermediate goods to the world’s electronics and automotive industries, from the hardened glass on Apple’s iPad to gearboxes in Volkswagens. Many makers of such parts have had to slow or halt shipments because of damaged roads, power cuts or the loss of components from their own suppliers. The effects have spread well beyond Japan, causing shutdowns from South Korea to Spain. Still, the history of such disasters is that much of that lost production is eventually recovered and reconstruction delivers a fillip to subsequent growth.

日本在世界产值中的比重这几十年一直在下降,但是9%的份额依然足以使这次灾难对日本经济增长形成的冲击对全球产值产生明显的影响,而且对世界其他地区还会产生涟漪效应。日本是世界电子业和汽车业中间产品(从苹果iPad的硬化玻璃到大众的齿轮箱)的主要供应国,在有些方面甚至是唯一供应国。由于道路损坏、电力紧张或来自其供应商的零件短缺,这些部件的生产厂家已经被迫减缓甚至停止发货。影响已经波及到日本之外的地区,导致从韩国到西班牙的许多工厂停产。不过,在以前的这类灾难中,损耗的产能多数最终得以恢复,重建还刺激了之后的增长。

Pinpointing the impact of Arab political turmoil is complicated by the fact that oil prices were already rising thanks to a brighter global economic outlook. Nonetheless, a good portion of this year’s 25% increase seems due to worries over supplies. A rule of thumb holds that a 10% increase in the price of oil trims 0.2 percentage points from global growth. At the start of the year, the world looked likely to grow by 4-4.5%. A crude estimate is that the two crises will subtract between a quarter and half a percentage point from that.

由于全球经济前景更加光明,油价已在上涨,这使得阿拉伯政治动乱的影响难以明确。但是,对今年25%涨价幅度的相当一部分担心是在供应方面。概测法(拇指规律)表明,油价每上涨10%,全球经济增速就会减少0.2个百分点。年初时,世界经济似乎将会增长4-4.5%。粗略估计,阿拉伯和日本的这两场危机将使增速在4-4.5%的基础上减少0.25到0.5个百分点。

That may not capture the full effect. Crises by their nature generate clouds of uncertainty (see article). Businesses postpone capital spending and hiring until the clouds clear. Investors seek the safety of bonds and lose their taste for equities.

这可能还没考虑到所有影响。危机的本质会产生不确定性,在云开雾散之前企业推迟资本支出和招兵买马,投资者对股本失去兴趣而转向收益方面安全的债券。

Economic policymakers can’t make peace between Arab rulers and their people or stabilise Japan’s nuclear reactors, but they can minimise the collateral damage. The greatest burden is on the Bank of Japan. Its efforts to cure deflation over the past 15 years have too often been timid. That could not be said of its rapid response to the tsunami. It poured cash into the banking system in a pre-emptive strike against panic hoarding. And it expanded its purchases of government and corporate debt and equities. Still more “quantitative easing” can keep bond yields from rising as the government borrows for reconstruction, and help the fight against deflation.

经济决策者不能在阿拉伯统治者和人民之间调停,也无法使日本的核反应堆趋于稳定,但是他们可以让造成的附带性破坏最小化。最大的重任落在日本银行肩上。日本银行过去15年抑制通胀力度不足的时候太多,但这却不能用来形容它对海啸的迅速应对上。为了避免恐慌性积聚钱财,日本银行先发制人,向银行系统注入大量现金,还加大购买政府和公司的债务和股本的力度。还有更多的“量化宽松”政策阻止债券收益随着政府借债用于重建而上涨,并能抵挡通货紧缩。

What should the rest of the world do? In a show of sympathy the G7 joined the Bank of Japan in selling the yen after it spiked dramatically. Such actions should be limited, however. Japan is too dependent on exports and its priority should be stimulating domestic demand and ending deflation, not cheapening the yen. A better way for outsiders to help is to ensure that concerns over radiation in Japanese products do not become an excuse for protectionism.

世界其他地方需要如何应对?在日元大幅升值之后,七国集团加入了日本银行抛售日元的行列,以示同情。但是,这种行动应该是有限的。日本过于依赖出口,它的首选应当是刺激国内需求,终结通货紧缩,而非使日元贬值。外界帮助日本的一个更好方式是确保对日本产品辐射的担心不会演变成保护主义的借口。

Avoidable aftershocks可以避免的余震

Other central banks face a more complicated task. Even as higher oil prices and hobbled Japanese production reduce growth they add to mounting inflation risks (Britain is now fretting over inflation of 4.4%). But most rich-world economies have ample economic slack, and in several countries fiscal tightening will tug at recovery. Britain’s coalition government has reaffirmed its commitment to austerity with this week’s budget (see article), and America has begun to cut spending. Both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve should resist the temptation to tighten soon.

其他国家的中央银行面临更加复杂的任务。在因油价上涨和日本生产受创而降低增速的同时,通胀风险还会进一步增加(英国现在对4.4%的通胀率备感苦恼)。但是,大多数富裕经济体有充足的经济松弛空间,而几个国家会在复苏时还会严格收紧财政。英国的联合政府通过本周的预算重申了其紧缩政策的立场,美国也已开始削减开支。无论是英格兰银行还是美联储,都应该抵御马上收紧的诱惑。

The European Central Bank seems intent on raising interest rates next month. That would be a mistake. In the euro zone underlying inflation and wage growth are both subdued and inflation expectations are under control. By raising rates the ECB would strengthen the euro and frustrate the efforts of countries like Greece, Ireland and—the next in line for bailing out—Portugal to grow their way out of their debts.

欧洲央行似乎决意在4月份提高利率。这将是个错误。在欧元区,潜在的通货膨胀和工资增加都处于受抑状态,通胀预期也在管控之下。欧洲央行提高利率会强化欧元,还会挫伤像希腊、爱尔兰和等着救助的葡萄牙这些国家促进经济增长、摆脱债务危机的努力。

There is only so much economic policymakers can do about crises that spring from war or nature. In this case, the priority should be not making matters worse.

在由战争或自然引发的危机面前,经济决策者可做的事情很多。此时,首要的应是不能恶化事态。

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重点单词
  • dependentadj. 依靠的,依赖的,从属的 n. 受援助者
  • complicatedadj. 复杂的,难懂的 动词complicate的过去
  • commitmentn. 承诺,保证; 确定,实行
  • stimulatingadj. 刺激的,令人兴奋的 动词stimulate的现
  • recoveryn. 恢复,复原,痊愈
  • postponevt. 延期,推迟
  • subtractvt. 扣掉 vi. 减少
  • nonethelessadv. 尽管如此(仍然)
  • sympathyn. 同情,同情心,同感,赞同,慰问
  • limitedadj. 有限的,被限制的 动词limit的过去式和过去