Thursday, April 24, 2014
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space
7

欧洲的短暂假期

纽约—自去年11月以来,欧洲央行在其新行长德拉吉的领导下降低了政策利率,并分两次向欧元区银行系统注入了超过1万亿欧元的流动性。这暂时减缓了欧元区外围债务困扰国(希腊、西班牙、葡萄牙、意大利和爱尔兰)的财政负担,减轻了欧元区银行系统爆发流动性枯竭的危险,也降低了意大利和西班牙去年秋天以来不可持续的融资成本。

与此同时,希腊避免了技术违约,并实施了成功的(也可以说是强迫的)公债重组。新的财政契约——以及希腊、意大利和西班牙新政府——燃起了人们对可信紧缩和结构性改革承诺的期望。将欧元区新旧援助计划(欧洲稳定性机制和欧洲金融稳定基金)合并极大地扩大了欧元区防火墙规模。

但由此带来的市场蜜月很快就过去了。意大利和西班牙的利差再次开始抬头,葡萄牙和希腊的借贷成本则一直居高不下。与此同时,欧元区外围的衰退不可避免地正在深化并向核心区(即法国和德国)蔓延。事实上,衰退将在今年恶化,原因如下。

首先,先行财政紧缩——不管多么必不可少——在加速经济收缩,因为更高的税收和更低的政府支出和转移支付拉低了可支配收入和总需求。此外,随着衰退的深化,财政赤字将进一步扩大,从而需要新一轮紧缩。如今,由于财政契约的存在,即使是欧元区核心国家也将被迫采取先行衰退性紧缩。

此外,尽管竞争力强大的德国可以忍受欧元兑美元1.3甚至更高的汇率,但对单位劳动成本在过去十年中上涨了三四成的欧元区外围国来说,欧元汇率要下降至与美元相当的水平才能重新获得竞争力和外部平衡。毕竟,在痛苦的去杠杆过程中(即减少开支、增加储蓄以降低债务),国内私人和公共需求将受到抑制,重塑增长的唯一希望是贸易平衡的改善,而这要求欧元大幅贬值。

与此同时,欧元区外围的信贷动荡正在加剧:拜欧洲央行长期低息贷款所赐,外围国银行现在不会有流动性问题,但却存在大规模资本短缺。外围国银行难以达到9%资本充足率的要求,只能变卖资产、收缩信用来满足,这可不是经济复苏的好兆头。

更坏的是,欧元区对原油进口的依赖比美国更甚,而原油价格在不断上涨,政治和政策环境却在不断恶化。法国可能诞生一位反对财政契约、采取令债券市场恐慌的政策的总统。希腊选举——那里的衰退正在向萧条迈进——可能会有40—50%的选票投给支持立刻违约并退出欧元区的政党。爱尔兰选民可能在公投中拒绝财政契约。西班牙和意大利也存在厌倦紧缩和改革的信号,反对痛苦紧缩的游行、罢工和群众抗议比比皆是。

即便是最终有利于提高生产率增长水平的结构性改革,在短期也可能起到衰退作用。通过减少裁员成本来增加劳动力市场弹性的做法可能会在短期导致公司部门裁员增加,进一步加深收入和需求萎缩。

最后,欧洲央行尽管头炮打得震天响,现在却对欧元区所需要的进一步货币刺激踯躅不前。事实上,欧洲央行官员一开始公开担忧石油冲击所带来的通胀压力。

麻烦在于,欧元区只有紧缩战略,却没有增长战略。而没有增长战略,就意味着紧缩战略是一种衰退战略,紧缩和改革都将弄巧成拙。这是因为,如果产出继续萎缩,赤字和债务比率就会继续上升,达到不可持续的水平。此外,社会和政治障碍也将最终变得不可克服。

这就是为何欧元区外围国利差再度上升的原因。外围国经受着严重的存量和流量失衡。存量失衡包括庞大且不断上涨的公私债务-GDP比重。流量失衡包括深化中的衰退、外部竞争力的大幅流失以及市场已不再愿意提供融资的庞大外部赤字。

除非大幅放松货币政策、减少先行财政紧缩,否则欧元就不会贬值,外部竞争力就得不到重塑,衰退就会深化。而不能重回增长——不是说几年后,而是说2012年——存量和流量失衡就将变得更加不可持续。更多的欧元区国家将被迫重组其债务,最终,将有一些国家选择退出货币联盟。

Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space
Hide Comments Hide Comments Read Comments (7)

Please login or register to post a comment

  1. CommentedPrasanna Srinivasan

    EU can look towards regaining competitiveness by taking cuts in wages and looking for overseas business (non-EU) based on this. A large part of the deficits run up by govts have essentially been propping up standards of living/real income in these countries without corresponding productivity increases to boost incomes - something Germany has successfully done. In the medium to long term, many EU countries will have to readjust their expectations of the relatively luxurious standards of living they enjoy if they are to generate incomes based on competition from elsewhere or create high value propositions that also employ large numbers (difficult to do).

  2. CommentedJonathan Lam

    gamesmith94134 08:07 06 Oct 11

    Gamesmith94134: Catching up is so very hard to do 67

    Justlistenall said well, ”how about “nations of higher living standards” in lieu of “rich nations”, except for those who really qualify as such?” It was not the yuan or GDP that make China the emerging nation; and the fact is the affordability that gives impetus to growth and not the higher living standard.

    If the rich nations must catch up the up-ward growth spiral, they must cut their living standard to make its people live to grow, instead of, strive to survive. The rich nations are only think of their people are rich but they are not; not afford to consume make its economies anemic. If they want to catch up, they must make it affordable for their people.

    Even if the troika can get 2 trillion to cover the PIIGS, the onward slow or anemic growth is not getting to the level of the proportion on the normalcy. In addition, the solution is short of the fiscal and tax equation among its EU members. Then, the 2 trillion would be spent in vain if the present higher living standard does not meet its affordability level, then, there is no demand to consume. It is still no growth if the durables or oil do not go down enough to provide the cash flow that will change the marginal affordability level and ready to consume.

    The bank or central bank may free of the old debts with the fresh new debts like the 2 trillion with longer term bonds with low interest, however, the low rate will halt lending to commercial based on the non-profitable, eventually, it will die or go bankrupt itself unless banking cut its own size like BOA or JPM. Such condition will turn into another tourniquet to the commercial needs if the bonds are not restructured by 2013 with the short-term basis. Depression will become inevitable even the BRICS can help to restructure the loans.

    Inflation and deflation is much as virus in fever and cold to one body as it is to an economy; it is understandable that disease works with one’s body to create its anti-biotic to fight diseases. Now, what our economist is facing the anemic economy with too much of sterilization with sub-prime and long-term interest rate that the body or the economy will not respond till the inflation or deflation can take its effects to make the economy change.

    In order to face reality, EU and US must settle on the coming depression, deflation helps in cutting the cost of living in a down turn spiral till the private industries can use human capitals in a lower valuation in wages. If the affordability allows more consumption; then, production will rise. Eventually, growth comes only after there is demand of it.

    If there is no systematic cut the valuation of the present, and the lowest interest of today only make the financial industry suffers. Let the nature take its course to adjust. Any attitude like no on my watch can only make it-- Japanification.

    If the economy is immune to inflation or deflation, then, valuation on price is not valid. I was not surprise if gold can fall 6% in a day; and how about you, Soros? What is you gold standard of monetization if immunization stands?
    Anything else is just excuses, isn’t it?

    May the Buddha bless you?

  3. CommentedAntoine Songeur

    Mr Roubini fails to note the following:
    -The balance of paiements of Europe is roughly balanced with huge excedent in Germany, Netherland... and huge deficits in France, etc... The problem is not Eurozone versus rest of the world but internal to the Eurozone
    - A massive devaluation of the Euro to 1 Euro for 1 Dollar would increase Europe's competitiveness and create huge problems for the US, the UK and other developped economies with a balance of paiements deficit
    - The real problem is Eurozone internal imbalances linked to divergent policies over the past 10-15 years: Germany having gone through "structural reform" (basically building a competitive advantage based on 20% of the workforce making less than 800€/months), the South European countries having been less "virtuous" and being uncompetitive versus Germany

    The necessary rebalancing (as South Europe deficits are unsustainable let alone because the markets will not accept it) can happen through 2 ways:
    - Rebalancing of internal competitiveness through higher salaries and consumption in Germany and lower salaries and consumption in Southern Europe, the overall impact being neutral
    - Break up of the euro

    This, of course, only looks at the specific European problem and does not address the global crisis linked to the massive misallocation of workforce and capital brought by a globalisation whose main unbalancing characteristics are the increase of inequalities, the arbitration of the cost of labour and the massive tax evasion/optimisation which have led to low growth and massive governement endebtness

  4. CommentedRoman Bleifer

    Economic policy, which is now carried out, similar to drug use. After their adoption, it seems that the problem disappeared. But they are not long and require a new dose of drugs. Then comes the effect of habituation. Required to increase the dose, and its validity is reduced. In the economy as a "drug" are used trillions in no way secured the money that are thrown into the financial system. In the real economy, they do not fall, no one system does not solve the problem. The amount of "improvement" from a throw-oh, is becoming shorter and shorter.
    "Vacation" is really short. But it will be short of, not only for Europe but for the U.S. economy and the global economy ( http://crisismir.com/analiticheskie-materialy/ekonomika/54-chto-god-gryadushhij-nam-gotovit-prognoz-na-2012-god-i-ne-tolko.html ). Prolema sovereign debt linked to the global crisis, but it deteriorated as its consequence, and not as a reason. The policy of austerity does not solve all problems. At a time when resources are scarce, Europe more than ever necessary to develop a strategy for economic development. It should be based on an adequate understanding of the processes of the global crisis, and its basis should be used ahead of principle.

  5. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    This tends to happen when the problem is only treated symptomatically but the root problems are not addressed.
    Europe's problems are twofold.
    1. They have tried to achieve some fiscal union in between independent countries, all of them based on self calculations only interested in their own progress and profit. In other words they tried building a house without foundations. This kind of structure only works to a certain degree until everything goes well, growth is constant and the in flowing income can cover the imperfections, but today this is not the case any longer.
    2. And it is not the case because the constant growth, profit oriented system exhausted itself, we are not in a recession or crisis, but in a system failure. The writer says: "The trouble is that the eurozone has an austerity strategy but no growth strategy." But today nobody has growth strategy, every country in the world is surviving on cosmetic measures, adjustments including the strongest nations. The principle conditions constant growth was based on evaporated.
    The solution given the above, and the closed, global, integral nature of our human system is increasing, mutual supra-national integration, and a totally new economic system based on necessities and resources which of course requires a fundamental attitude and thinking change from all of us.

  6. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    If you want growth, then you have to go to equity. A very large institutional capability to take European debt--both existing and that still to be issued--and convert it into equity and invest this equity to get growth going again where growth is needed should be the overall solution architecture.

    A shift to a more balanced solution would encourage optimism about future growth. To continue to issue debt is to continue to enslave the future to the sins of the past.

  7. CommentedKeevan Morgan

    both the inflationists and the austerityites are right to fear each other, because in the present situtation following either of those two paths is likely to have the horrible consequences predicted by the opposite parties.
    if europe were merely sick, then depending on the particulars and the psychology of whatever moment was at hand, either more deficit spending or pulling in the governmental belt could work. that is because economic graphs aside, when the elites and the people are confident, they will force the graphs the right way towards increased productivity and prosperity despite even the best analysis of the economic number crunchers that an economy will surely go this way or that. therefore, for a sick economy, it is the effect of the governmental policy on the psychology of the nation that counts most, and the words of the great song must be remembered "musta been the right move, musta been the wrong time" or vice versa.

    but, today, the european economies are not generally sick; they are generally dead. therefore, treating illness won't work; rather, you have to bury the dead and start over.

    an economy either makes money or it doesn't, just like a business, but we just call it expansion and wealth production instead of a profit. the dead european economies cannot do so any more.
    in business when this happens, the company is declared dead and its assets are sold to bottom feeders to reassemble a new business or to attach to old ones, but in either case to make the same assets produce a surplus instead of continuing to flail away at the impossible task of making a profit under conditions where a profit is impossible. when this happens, creditors and equity are wiped out.

    the time has come for a european default--or at least greece and spain. this will cause great pain, but for a lot less time than stretching out the propping up of the dead. the european countries have to just tell their creditors: "we are not paying you anything on your old debt. your old debt is repudiated. now, if you ever want to recover a penny, buy more of our new bonds, which we will issue and have every intention of honoring."

    that takes care of the creditors, who will cry how outraged they are and nobody will EVER give those (()&*^((*& governments credit again--not noway, not nohow, not EVER, OK!!!!

    but the creditors won't really mean it, because in the end, if there is a chance for a profit tomorrow, they will take it. nothing gets you over an old girlfriend or boyfriend like a new one.

    "equity" in the case of a country is the taxpayers. the taxpayers have to be told: "benefits are now reduced to only those that are necessary to prevent starvation, disease, and we will provide emergency medical care. we will also reduce taxes, but not as much as we will reduce spending--at least until we're in the black again."

    in a few years, all the countries in trouble will have large budget surpluses--profits. investors will return more and more as time goes on and the people will see their governments.2 are in the black.

    confidence will be restored and the enterprises, both private and the governments themselves, will begin to hum and nobody will remember the deadbeat governments.1 any more than they do the financial distress of the hapsburgs or bourbons, because they will be so in love with profitable governments.2.

    nothing in the foregoing should be construed that under normal circumstances i think governmental defaults are desirable. however, lazurian feats of resurrection are rare, and when the patient passes away the reality needs to be accepted by the still living and the mourning period short so that the work of the day can begin anew for those still concerned with such things.

    keevan d. morgan, esq., chicago

Featured