《经济学人》:中国金融丑闻
日期:2011-08-24 11:42

(单词翻译:单击)

Chinese financial scandals
中国金融丑闻

When it matters
关键时刻

Markets in China are barely fazed by scandal, unless the state is involved
中国市场几乎不受丑闻影响,除非有政府干涉时

Aug 20th 2011 | HONG KONG | from the Economist edition

SHORT-SELLERS have been feasting of late on a crop of Chinese companies whose shares have collapsed on foreign markets amid allegations of deceptive accounting. Take Sino Forest, a forestry firm listed in Canada, whose shares slumped from C$25.30 ($26) in March to as low as C$1.99 in June after a research outfit questioned its accounts (Sino Forest has denied the claims and has commissioned a review by an independent committee).

在账目作假的指控声中外国市场上一批中国公司股票大跌,这让卖空者欣喜不已。如在加拿大上市的嘉汉公司,在一研究机构对其账目提出质疑后(嘉汉林业否认这一指控,并已提交由独立机构的出具的复查报告),其股票从三月的 25.30跌至七月的1.99.

A sharp fall in a company’s share price after allegations of deceptive accounting is hardly unexpected, except perhaps in China. What matters in a scandal there is a little different from in most other places.

公司在被控告账目作假后引起其股票的大跌是平常之事,或许在中国是例外。同大多数其他地区相比,在中国丑闻中的决定因素略有不同。

A recent study by three academics* looks at several hundred scandals linked to companies traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges between 1997 and 2005. Their results are striking. Revelations of financial fraud and various other similar crimes, such as embezzlement and kickbacks, are not entirely irrelevant to a company’s share price. But to trigger the sort of collapse in a company’s stock, the loss of short-term financing and the managerial and board changes that occur in America or other developed markets requires another element in China: the involvement of the state.

三位学者最近做的一份研究聚焦于近百起丑闻,这些丑闻涉及1997年至2005年期间在上海和深圳股票市场进行交易的公司。他们的研究发现引人注目。对财务诈骗和各种类似罪行,如盗用公款,收取回扣等的揭露势必对该公司的股票价造成影响。但如要引起一家公司股票的暴跌,除了短期资金的缺失,管理和董事会的变动,像美国或其他发展完善的市场发生过的那样,在中国还需要另一元素:即政府的参与。

The study found that companies caught up in mere accounting scandals saw their shares drop by an average of 8.8% over the six months on either side of the incident. In those involving the bribery of government officials or theft of state assets, on the other hand, the stock fell by almost a third.

这一研究发现,仅陷于账目丑闻的公司在这一事件之前或之后的六个月里其股票平均下跌8.8%。另一方面,在那些涉及贿赂政府官员或盗用国家资产的,其股票价格会下跌近三分之一。

Collapsing share prices tell only part of the story. Companies caught up in funny business involving the government faced a withdrawal of short-term financing and changes to the board—responses common in Western companies implicated in all sorts of scandal but rare among Chinese companies caught cooking the books.

暴跌的股票只揭示了整个事态的一部分。因行为不轨被抓现行且有政府插手的公司面临着现金的回收和董事的变革——卷入一切丑闻后与西方公司的普遍反应,但是在被发现篡改账目的中国公司间却很少发生。

The reason for the difference is that Western markets rely on contracts being enforced by courts and on investors, suppliers and customers all acting on the basis of audited accounts. In China and other less developed markets, by contrast, business is done on the basis of political and social relationships, not numbers. That changes the dynamic of a scandal.

导致这一不同的原因是西方市场依赖于由董事会强制实行,由投资者实施的合约,供应商和顾客以审计账目为依据。相比较而言,在中国和其他较不完善的市场,做生意靠的是政治和社会关系,不是数字。这致使丑闻的动态格局不同。

Staying pals with the government is extraordinarily important: it can lead to cheap financing, land and contracts, along with one other often overlooked (but absolutely critical) benefit. Because China lacks an impartial judicial system, Chinese companies are often at a loss as to whom they can trust when dealing with new customers or suppliers. “Legal” redress for a problem may often hinge on a company’s relationship with officials. If that is compromised and the loss becomes public knowledge—as would happen with the disclosure of a government-related scandal—the company’s ability to operate will be undermined.

与政府保持伙伴关系极其重要:这可以带来底价资金,土地和合约,以及其它常常被忽视(但十分关键)的好处。由于中国缺乏公正的司法制度,所以中国公司在同新客户或供应商交易时在可以信任谁上抓瞎。依法解决问题常常依赖于公司同政府官员的关系。如果这种关系受损,其损失公所周知——同与政府相关的丑闻被揭发遭遇类似——公司的运营能力将大打折扣。

It is not just markets that behave this way: officials seem to as well. Reports of prosecutions in China over dodgy accounting in cases where investors or clients are victims remain scarce. But the penalties for financial crimes when the state is the victim can be extreme. A group of people found guilty of counterfeiting money were sentenced to death in July.

不仅仅市场如此行事:官员似乎亦是如此。在中国对相关揭发控告欺诈账目使投资者和客户成为受害者的报道鲜有耳闻。但是当国家作为受害一方时,对金融犯罪的惩处是极其严厉的。七月,一伙被证实伪造假币的罪犯被判处死刑。

It has long been assumed that as China’s market evolved, it would come to look more like the West with the legitimacy of Chinese companies hinging on their own accounts rather than their ties to the government. That assumption may be worth re-examining, not only because China’s vast state apparatus shows little interest in shedding control but also because some Western markets are starting to look a bit more like China’s.

人们一直想当然的认为,随着中国市场的演化,它会越来越像西方,即合法的中国公司更多的以自身为转移而非依赖于同政府的关系。那一假想或许值得重新审视,不仅仅是中国的庞大政府机构毫无放权的迹象,连一些西方的市场也开始看似中国市场。

Since the financial crisis governments in America and Britain, to name but two, have become large shareholders (albeit reluctant ones) in financial and industrial companies. The conclusions of the academics’ paper—that the value of a company in developing markets is tied more tightly to its relationship with the government than its investors—may become the new normal elsewhere too.

自经济危机后,仅列举其二,美国和英国政府成为了金融和工业公司的大股东(尽管并非心甘情愿)。这一学术报告的结论,即在新兴发展市场,一家公司的价值与其同政府的关系息息相关,而非其投资者,这一结论很可能在其他地区亦成为新常态。

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重点单词
  • dealingn. 经营方法,行为态度 (复数)dealings:商务
  • embezzlementn. 盗用,挪用,侵占
  • fell动词fall的过去式 n. 兽皮 vt. 砍伐,击倒 a
  • hingen. 铰链,关键 vt. 用铰链装 vi. 依情况而定
  • financingn. 融资,资金供应 动词finance的现在分词
  • elementn. 元素,成分,组成部分,(复数)恶劣天气
  • deceptiveadj. 迷惑的,虚伪的,诈欺的
  • legaladj. 法律的,合法的,法定的
  • reluctantadj. 不情愿的,勉强的
  • unexpectedadj. 想不到的,意外的