Thursday, October 30, 2014
6

谨慎之年

纽约—7月份开始的全球股市反弹正在失去动力,这并不令人奇怪:发达国家和主要新兴市场国家都没有发生增长前景的重大改善,因此反弹总是无根之木。如果要预测什么的话,修正走势可能马上就会到来,因为最近几个月的宏观经济数据令人失望。

从发达国家开始。欧元区衰退从外围国蔓延到了核心国,法国步入了算退,德国也陷入了双重夹击——主要出口市场(中国/亚洲)增速减缓,其他市场(南欧)全面萎缩。美国经济增长继续萎靡,今年大部分时间都只有1.5—2%;而日本正在进入新的衰退。英国与欧元区一样,已经开始了双底衰退,而即使是强劲的商品出口国——加拿大、北欧和澳大利亚——也因为美国、欧洲和中国的不振而面临着减速。

与此同时,新兴市场经济体——包括所有金砖国家(巴西、俄罗斯、印度和中国)和阿根廷、土耳其和南非等其他大国——在2012年也出现了减速。在政府最新的财政、货币和信用注入下,中国的减速在近几个季度中已有所缓解;但这样的刺激只能维持中国不可持续的增长模式——太过依赖于固定资产投资和储蓄,太少私人消费支持。

2013年,全球增长下行风险将因财政紧缩扩大到大部分发达国家而被放大。到目前为止,衰退性财政拖累集中在欧元区外围国和英国。但现在正在向欧元区核心国蔓延。而在美国,即使总统奥巴马和国会共和党在预算计划问题上达成一致,避免跌入“财政悬崖”,支出削减和税收增加也必将拖累2013年的增长至少1%的GDP。在日本,地震后重建财政刺激将退出,2014年将启动新的消费税。

因此,IMF认为大部分发达国家步调一致地采取过度前瞻的财政紧缩将恶化2013年的全球增长前景是完全正确的。那么,又是什么让最近的美国和全球资产市场发生了反弹。

答案很简单:中央银行再一次祭出了流动性大杀器,这给了风险资产一剂强心剂。美联储采取了激进的无期限量化宽松(QE)。欧洲央行所宣布的“直接货币交易”计划降低了欧元区外围国主权债务危机和货币联盟崩溃的风险。英格兰银行从QE转向了CE(信用宽松),日本银行则再度增加了QE操作规模。

许多其他发达国家和新兴国家的货币当局也削减了政策利率。而在低增长、低通胀、近零短期利率和更多QE的环境下,大部分发达国家的长期利率维持在低水平(欧元区外围国是例外,它们的主权风险仍然相对较高)。因此,毫不奇怪,渴望收益率的投资者纷纷涌入股市、商品、信用工具和新兴市场货币。

但如今,全球市场修正或许已经开始。主要原因是增长前景黯淡。与此同时,尽管欧洲央行果断行动,成立银行、财政、经济和政治联盟的谈判也在进行中,但欧元区危机仍未解决。特别地,希腊、葡萄牙、西班牙和意大利仍然岌岌可危,而欧元区核心国已经产生了援助疲劳。

此外,在财政、债务、税收和监管诸领域充满了政治和政策不确定性。在美国,财政担忧是三重的:若不能达成政治协议,则2013年将自动发生税收增加和大规模支出削减的“悬崖”风险;债务上限问题上党派斗争死灰复燃;以及中期财政紧缩的新斗争。在许多其他国家和地区——比如中国、韩国、日本、以色列、德国、意大利和加泰罗尼亚——即将到来的选举和政治过渡也会产生增加政策不确定性的效果。

发生修正走势还有另一个原因:股市估值正在提高:市盈率正处在高位,而每股收益增长缓慢,由于增长和通胀都很低,未来很可能发生出人意料的每股收益下降。在不确定性、波动性和尾部风险再度上升的环境下,修正走势可能会快速加速。

事实上,如今地缘政治不确定性也在增加:由于谈判和制裁可能都无法阻止伊朗开发核武器实力的动作,伊朗-以色列军事冲突风险仍然很高;以色列和加沙哈马斯可能爆发新战争;阿拉伯之春可能会演变为经济、社会和政治动荡的严冬;而中国、韩国、日本、中国台湾、菲律宾和越南的领土纠纷正在点燃民族主义力量。

随着消费者、企业和投资者变得更加谨慎和风险厌恶,2012年下半年的股市反弹已经见顶。而由于发达国家和新兴市场都面临着严重的下行风险,修正走势可能只是2013年全球经济和金融市场糟糕表现的开端。

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  1. CommentedKapil Khetan

    Other than an un-useful litany of political woes, the only actual point made by Prof Roubini is that 'PE levels are high'. Really - using what lookback period? did that cover periods when rates were 1.6% for the 10Y point? what percentile are we at now for him to be concerned? is PE a sufficient metric - or should one complement with PB and PS as well? a little more fact and a little less opinion please

  2. CommentedTomoichiro Nakamaru

    I fully agree to your rather pessimistic view on the outlook for the world in general and Japan in particular.

    I myself have been pessimistic about the world economy and fed up with the status quo of Japan, which is characterized by deflation and stagnation of the economy.

    Let me suggest to you, however, that one should not underestimate Japan too much.

    To become like Japanese has been a fashionable global trend after a bubble burst. Needless to say, the Euro area has been struggling for about 4 years to avert euro crisis, and I suspect the area will be trapped in a vicious cycle in which lost decades like Japan will be likely to be repeated there as well. Who knows whether the politically divided US will continue to be immune to such Japanization disease after a burst of supper housing bubble in the US.

    Almost all economies are in so-called liquidity trap, and most politicians are obsessed with the excessive fiscal austerity measures. In this context, Japan has been clearly the front runner of the race.

    Nevertheless. I now see a different and rather optimistic picture for Japan in the future. As the latest Q3GDP showed, the economy is very depressed, and the external environment is rather severe and hostile as the recent Senkaku island dispute demonstrates. Paradoxically speaking, Japan has no choice other than to take expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, and strengthen the alliance between the US and Japan.

    Abe, who is expected to become the new leader next month, is a pro-growth advocate. His top priorities are three holds; stopping deflation, requesting 2 to 3% inflation target to BOJ, and promoting cost effective public works.

    Now, one could argue that such policy package will be shot-lived, and Japan will repeat stop and go policies, which has been tried and failed in vain. I will not rule out such possibility, and that is a reason why I wish to urge new government in Japan to adopt a 5% nominal GDP targeting policy together with the BOJ. Inflation targeting policy may not be enough, as the experience of the Fed shows.

    In any case, it seems to me that Japan at least will have a great opportunity in the near future to re-emerge as a leader of G-zero world. Please be reminded that Japan is the largest creditor in the world. What has been lacking so far over the lost two decades, is a good idea, as Mr. Keynes suggested in concluding the General Theory.

    I am looking forward to being shocked by a positive surprise in the near future. Underestimating the largest creditor in the world may turn out to be unwise and costly.

  3. CommentedVenu Madhav

    It appears that the winds of recession from the top of the market are saying " Heads I win! Tails You Lose!!" as any QE will not help and any austerity also seems to languish if not excoriate. It also appears the coming days will compel various economies to pitch for protectionism.

  4. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    When there is an output gap that plagues the global economy, central bank stimulus to increase output has partially helped to increase investment goods and prices (some of the commodities behaved like investment goods), while the consumption goods are still far from satisfactory, what we have missed to see is that none of this augured well to increase productive output as most other subsidies fail to achieve; the trading account of most large companies have shown a sharp slowing down. While this cannot be counteracted by further credit creation or direct intervention to buy assets (like the Chinese Reserve Bureau is doing in buying inventories, for example in metal, housing, etc) as these are not sustainable solutions either to the question of output, nor to productivity.

    While this is true, there is no lack of liquidity if one sees the balance sheet of large corporations, but which cannot be transformed into productive use.

    Procyon Mukherjee

  5. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    I think Roubini is a tad too pessimistic here. The French economy did not shrink, but grew slightly in Q3. The US economy is doing slightly better than he gives it credit for.

    The US economy is not going to do the fiscal cliff and will probably not even do austerity in 2013 since both sides in the fight have important "tradeables" to make a deal that is expansionary overall. Europe is stepping back from more austerity. The French have said, "Oui, nous avons une probleme structurelle." (I visit France every year and I am reasonably certain that a certain amount of lucrative financial activity is not fully reported to the Finance Ministry in Paris--Mon Dieur!)

    Today, the violence in Gaza is peaking and the US stock market went up 200 points. I think the Gaza incident is telling a lot of people that it is important to tamp down the violence. And all this talk about Israel attacking Iran at the end of the day is going to be just talk unless Israel wants to become the New Pariah State Number One.

    There's going to be a lot of growth in the next couple of years in the world economy; just where and who benefits is still up in the air, as it always is and always will be.

    I think the smart money will remain skittish about debt and wary about future inflation. And if there is future inflation, then debt looks shaky while shares in productive assets with pricing power look golden.

    I wish I knew the slope of the line tracking future interest rates, but alas, the gods have not chosen to confide in me. So I guess that the slope will be upward, increasing slowly as capacity comes out of the global system, and then some sort of power function. As they sang in the 1960s, cocaine swirling all around my brain; they tell me it will kill me but they won't say when!"

  6. Commentedarnim holzer

    While I agree with Professor Roubini's dire economic and political synopsis, I think the assertion that equity valuations are stretched is overstated and a bit late to the party. The scenario that has been created by brutal economic restructuring and poor policy actually could set up the world for a period of solid growth if policymakers take reasonable if not heroic steps. Equity prices and valuations have remained muted (when evaluated on longer term history, the 10-14 P/Es of major global equity indeces seem fair) over the past several years despite the historic Central Bank support because of the concerns over stagnation, global developed market fiscal profligacy, Chinese restructuring, and geopolitical stress. I would counter that these factors, have been present and discounted for quite some time, particularly when one alalyzes not just public equity performance but the lack of capital investment over the past 3-5 years. There is no crystal ball but a look into corporate balance sheets would seem to support equity and high quality bonds as a better place to invest than government bonds. When the global fiscal cliffs are negotiated more functionally the likely upside in confidence will support some recovery in private investment as well. This relationship is asymmetric enough that pessimism will prove to have been a bad bet. No one disagrees that the globe is in a bad place. But can we really make money from here thinking it will get much worse?

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