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奥巴马

Grim truths Obama should have told Hu in Beijing
奥巴马该说的大实话

沃尔夫:我认为奥巴马应该就人民币汇率直言不讳

Yesterday Barack Obama, president of the US, met Hu Jintao, president of the People's Republic of China, for a private meeting. The agenda was long, covering the world economy, climate change and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. The last two are the most important, over the long run. But the first is the most urgent. If we do not achieve a healthy global economic recovery, hope of a co-operative relationship is likely to prove vain. Yet such a recovery is far from ensured. Worse, some of what is now happening – particularly China's decision to depreciate the renminbi along with the dollar – makes healthy recovery less likely.

美国总统巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)11月17日与中华人民共和国主席胡锦涛举行了不公开会谈。会谈的议题清单很长,涵盖世界经济、气候变化和核武器不扩散问题。长远来看,后两个问题最重要。但第一个问题最紧迫。如果我们不能实现一种健康的全球经济复苏,建立合作关系的希望就有可能化为泡影。然而,这种健康复苏还远未得到保证。更糟的是,正在发生的一些事情——尤其是中国决定让人民币跟随美元贬值——降低了健康复苏的可能性。

This, then, was an opportunity for Mr Obama to tell some brutal truths. I hope he did, after careful briefing from his staff, on the following lines.

因此,这场会谈是奥巴马说一些大实话的机会。我希望他在听取工作人员的仔细简报之后,说了类似于下面的这些话。

“Mr President, as I said in Japan, ‘the US does not seek to contain China, nor does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of our bilateral alliances. On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations'. For the foreseeable future, our two countries will be the leading players on the world stage. We must approach our challenges in a spirit of co-operation and accommodation. But that is, alas, not happening over your exchange rate policies.

“主席先生,就像我在日本讲话时所提到的,‘美国不谋求遏制中国,与中国关系的加深也不会削弱我们的双边联盟。相反,一个强大而繁荣的中国的崛起,将成为国际社会的力量源泉。'在可预见的将来,美中两国将成为世界舞台的主角。我们必须本着合作与和解的精神应对挑战。但遗憾的是,这一点在贵国的汇率政策上没有做到。

“Chinese officials have expressed understandable concern over US fiscal and monetary policies. Most recently, Liu Mingkang, your chief banking regulator, has argued that the combination of a weak dollar with low interest rates had encouraged a ‘huge carry trade' that was having a ‘massive impact on global asset prices'. Similarly, many Chinese officials complain about our huge fiscal deficits and worry about the safety of Chinese investments in US Treasury bonds.

“中国官员对美国财政与货币政策表达的担忧可以理解。最近,贵国银监会主席刘明康先生认为,美元疲软加之利率水平较低,鼓励了‘巨大的套息投机行为',正在‘严重冲击全球资产价格'。同样,许多中国官员对我国的巨额财政赤字怨声载道,并担心中国对美国国债投资的安全。

“I do share these concerns. But our current fiscal and monetary policies have a straightforward cause: we were contemplating the abyss a year ago. Even now, our recovery is too weak to reduce unemployment from intolerable levels. Confronted with these risks, the Federal Reserve and my administration have acted to sustain demand. if anything, those who warned our stimulus package would prove too small were right.

“我与你们感到同样的担忧。但是我国现行财政和货币政策的原因是一目了然的:一年前我们面前是无底深渊。即便是现在,我国经济复苏的力度,也不足以使失业率降至可以忍受的水平。面对这些风险,美联储和我手下的官员采取了维持需求的行动。如果说有什么偏差的话,那些警告称我们的刺激方案规模过小的人,现在看来是正确的。

“We faced a slump for a simple reason: the financial crisis we inherited triggered a collapse in US private spending and a sharp rise in private saving. My advisers have told me that between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, the balance between US private income and spending shifted from a deficit of 2.1 per cent of gross domestic product to a surplus of 6.2 per cent – a swing towards frugality of 8.3 per cent of GDP. The collapse of our fiscal position is no more than the mirror image of this shift in the balance between private income and spending. The Fed's easing is also an inevitable response to the collapse.

“我们陷入经济衰退,原因很简单:我们接手的金融危机,触发了美国私人消费的暴跌和私人储蓄的猛增。我的顾问们告诉我说,在2007年第四季度和2009年第二季度之间,美国私人收支差额从相当于国内生产总值(GDP) 2.1%的赤字转变为6.2%的盈余,换句话说,美国人转向节俭的幅度达到GDP的8.3%。我国财政状况的崩溃,只是这种私人收支差额变化的镜像。美联储的宽松政策,也是针对财政状况恶化的必然回应之一。

“I am president of the US. I am not going to put our economy into a depression, to protect the value of Chinese savings. After all, nobody in the US asked you to intervene on so massive a scale in currency markets and so accumulate the incredible total of $2,275bn in foreign currency reserves by September of this year, much of it in our currency.

“我是美国总统。我不会为了保护中国储蓄的价值而让美国经济陷入萧条。毕竟,没有美国人要求你们对外汇市场实施如此大规模的干涉,并因此截至今年9月积累了令人难以置信的2.275万亿美元外汇储备,其中大部分为美元资产。

“The policy China apparently recommends to us would not even work on its own terms. Suppose the Fed stopped quantitative easing and raised interest rates, to strengthen the dollar, while we pushed through a huge fiscal tightening. This would return the economy into a slump. Thereupon the fiscal deficits would surely worsen, once again.

“中国显然在向我们建议的政策,即便我们完全照办也不会奏效。假设美联储终止定量宽松政策,并上调利率,使美元升值,与此同时,我们也努力大力收紧财政支出。这将使美国经济再次陷入衰退。财政赤字也必然会因此再度加剧。

“As Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has just pointed out here in Beijing, ‘at the end of the day, higher Chinese domestic demand, along with higher US savings, will help rebalance world demand and assure a healthier global economy for us all'.

“正如国际货币基金组织(IMF)总裁多米尼克•斯特劳斯-卡恩(Dominique Strauss-Kahn)刚刚在北京指出的那样,‘最终,中国国内需求增加,与美国储蓄增加一起,将有助于重新平衡世界需求,并有助于确保全球经济更加健康,让所有人受益。'

“I recognise that China has played an invaluable role by stimulating domestic demand and so facilitating needed global adjustments. The IMF apparently expects a huge decline in China's current account surplus this year. Unfortunately, that may well prove temporary: first, your stimulus programme, with its reliance on massive credit expansion, may prove unsustainable; second, the decline in China's trade surplus is largely the result of the crisis-induced collapse in world trade; and, third and most important, China has embarked on currency deprecation by locking the renminbi to the falling dollar.

“我意识到,中国通过刺激内需,发挥了可贵的作用,并因此推动了必要的全球经济调整。显然,IMF预期今年中国经常账户盈余将大幅缩减。不幸的是,这种缩减很可能只是暂时的:首先,贵国的刺激方案依赖于大规模信贷扩张,可能难以维续;其次,中国贸易顺差的减少,主要是金融危机导致的世界贸易萎缩的结果;最后一点,也是最重要的一点,由于钉住了不断贬值的美元,人民币也在贬值。

“At a time of such weak global demand, yours is a ‘beggar thy neighbour' policy. You complain about the protectionist actions I have implemented. But their impact will be trivial compared with China's ‘exchange rate protectionism'. This policy will shift the costs of adjustment on to China's trading partners. Yet, again in Mr Strauss-Kahn's words, ‘a stronger currency is part of the package of necessary reforms. Allowing the renminbi and other Asian currencies to rise would help increase the purchasing power of households, raise the labour share of income, and provide the right incentives to reorient investment'.

“正当全球需求如此疲软之际,贵国的政策无异于‘以邻为壑'。贵国对我实施的保护主义举措提出申诉。但与中国的‘汇率保护主义'相比,那些举措的影响微不足道。这种政策会将经济调整的代价转嫁给中国的贸易伙伴。然而,让我再次引用斯特劳斯-卡恩的话,‘货币升值是一揽子必要改革计划的重要组成部分。允许人民币和其他亚洲货币升值将有助于提高居民购买力,增加劳动收入的比重,并为重新调整投资提供正确的激励。'

“You have, I am sure, decided that such lectures mean nothing. What you may fail to understand is the speed with which democracies can shift their attitude from the open hand to the clenched fist. If, over the next year or two, your current account surplus exploded upward, while our deficit did the same, it would be impossible for us to ignore. This is particularly true when sober analysts – Goldman Sachs, in this case – estimate that, on its present path, China might have a bigger surplus, relative to world GDP, by 2020, than ‘the combined surpluses run by Germany, Japan and Middle Eastern countries in 2007'.

“我肯定,你一定已经判定,这种说教毫无意义。但你也许未能理解的是,民主国家的态度能快速地从张开的手转变为攥紧的拳头。如果在未来一两年里,贵国的经常账户盈余出现激增,而我国的赤字也大幅扩大,那么我们就不可能对此熟视无睹,尤其是鉴于冷静的分析师们——这里是高盛(Goldman Sachs)的分析师们——预测,如果中国沿着现在的轨道走下去,那么到2020年,其经常账户盈余相对于全球GDP的比例,将超过‘2007年德国、日本和中东国家的盈余总和'。

“Yet we do not have that much time. If the US domestic economy remained weak and unemployment high, while our trade deficit soared, particularly our bilateral deficit with China, the pressure to ‘do something' would become irresistible. I would have to consider the sort of actions that Richard Nixon took in 1971. To force revaluations by Germany and Japan, he threatened a 10 per cent import surcharge. With great regret, I might feel obliged to do the same. I would then argue that China's determination to thwart needed adjustment in exchange rates had become intolerable. The US is entitled to protect itself against such mercantilism. The trading system would be terribly damaged. But the alternative would be unbearable.”

“然而,我们没有那么多的时间。如果美国国内经济依旧低迷,失业率居高不下,同时贸易逆差急剧飙升(特别是对中国的双边贸易逆差),那么,要求我们‘做点什么'的压力将变得不可抗拒。我可能不得不考虑采取类似于理查德•尼克松总统(Richard Nixon)在1971年出台的行动。为了迫使德国和日本货币升值,他威胁要加征10%的进口附加税。届时我可能不得不采取同样的措施,这将是非常令人遗憾的。那时我会辩称,中国坚决阻挠必要汇率调整的行为,已经到了不可忍受的程度。在这种重商主义面前,美国有权保护自己。贸易体系可能会因此受到严重破坏。但其它选择的后果根本不可承受。”

Did Mr Obama speak so bluntly? Probably not. Should he have? Yes, I think he should. We have spent long enough discussing China's exchange rate policies. It is time for action.

奥巴马在会谈时是不是如此直言不讳?大概不是。他是否应该如此呢?是的,我觉得他应该这么说。我们已经花费了太长的时间来讨论中国的汇率政策。是时候采取行动了。

译者/何黎

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