Coins

央行奔负

纽黑文—央行也许已经祭出了绝望的最后一招——放弃对人们委托它们进行管理的经济的有效控制。先是零利率,然后是量化宽松,现在则是负利率,政策在徒劳之间切换。正如前两次豪赌没能给陷入长期萎靡复苏的经济带来有意义的动力,采取负利率也只能加剧金融动荡的风险,给下一次危机创造条件。

采取负利率——首见于2014年的欧洲,现在日本也在实行——是央行政策的一个巨大的转折点。此前的重点一直是提振总需求——主要通过降低借贷 成本,但也通过刺激金融资产升值带来的财富效应。但如今,负利率是对存在央行的超额准备的惩罚,它通过信用方程的供给端推动刺激——事实上,就是迫使银行不顾资金需求发放新贷款。

这偏离了后危机世界的致病原因。野村证券经济学家辜朝明评论日本时指出,重点应该放在受危机影响的经济体的需求端,这些经济提的增长受到作为“资产负债表看衰退”的必然结果的拒绝债务综合征的制约。

这一制约效应是全球性的。设想中应该具有强大推力的安倍经济学没有让日本经济从24年来年均0.8%(经通胀调整)的低迷GDP增长中走出。不仅日本如此,美国也是这样,消费需求——美国大衰退的震中——八年来停滞不前,而这八年的平均真实经济增长率只有1.5%。欧元区的情况更加糟糕,真实2008—2015年间GDP平均每年只能增长0.1%。

所有这些都表明央行根本无力推动受资产负债表约束、陷入20世纪30年式“流动性陷阱”的经济的总需求。保罗·克鲁格曼(Paul Krugman)在近20年前指出,日本是这一难题的现代“典范”。20世纪90年代初,日本股市和房地产泡沫破裂,“经连会”(keiretsu)体系——“主银行”以及与之关系密切的非银行公司——因为不堪过度杠杆的重负而倒闭。

但支出过多、储蓄过少的美国消费者也是如此——欧元区就更不用说了,其外围经济体(葡萄牙、意大利、爱尔兰、希腊和西班牙)从根本上说就是一场增长预期过度膨胀的杠杆游戏。在所有这些例子中,资产负债表修复挤出了总需求的复振,货币刺激基本上没有起到刺激经典周期性反弹的作用。

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这可能是现代央行政策最大的失败。但这一点被一致否认。美联储前主席格林斯潘(Alan Greenspan)2004年初发表的“任务完成”讲话是一个显例。格林斯潘使用超宽松货币政策清理2000年互联网泡沫破裂后的乱局,同时坚持美联储不应该因为对20世纪90年代末投机疯狂无动于衷而受到谴责。他的这一观点受到广泛赞誉。

这让格林斯潘的继任者陷入滑坡困境。2008年底的大危机让美联储前主席伯南克(Ben Bernanke)很快手段用尽,不得不祭出新的魔力药丸——量化宽松。量化宽松是解救受困市场的灵丹,但绝非填补消费者资产负债表、刺激总需求有效复苏的有效工具。

欧洲央行行长德拉吉在2012年所做的著名承诺——“不惜一切代价”捍卫欧元——让欧洲央行也走上了同样的道路——先是零利率,然后是量化宽松,现在是负政策利率。类似地,日本银行行长黑田东彦坚持认为所谓的QQE(量化和质量宽松)已经结束了有害的通货紧缩——即使如今他也采取了负利率并将日本银行2%的通胀目标实现日期延后至2017年年中。

美联储是否能抵御住负利率的诱惑仍有待观察。但最主要央行坚持错误的信念——传统货币政策策略(利率政策在零水平之上进行调整)和非常规工具(如量化宽松和负利率)的效力没有什么区别。

问题就在于此。在常规货币政策时代,传导渠道主要局限于借贷成本以及相应的对实体经济的信用敏感部门(如房屋建设、汽车和商业资本支出)的影响。

当这些部门因为基准利率的变化而起落时,整个系统的反响(所谓的乘数效应)常常因为资产市场的真实和心理收益(财富效应)而加强。今时不同往日。在全新的非常规货币政策时代,传导渠道主要是通过资产市场的财富效应。

这一方法引起两个严重的并发症。首先,央行忽视了金融动荡的风险。低通胀给过于友好的货币政策造成了虚假的安全感,导致资产和信用市场出现大量泡沫,从而引起实体经济的大扭曲。当泡沫破裂并将失衡的经济打入资产负债表衰退时,以通胀为目标的央行已经黔驴技穷——这让它们迅速进入了零利率和量化宽松的流动性注入等未知领域。

其次,政客因为繁荣的资产市场而获得虚假的安全感,他们不再倾向于选择财政刺激——从而在事实上封住了走出流动性陷阱的唯一的现实道路。在财政刺激缺位的情况下,央行继续向易于产生泡沫的金融市场注入流动性——而没有意识到它们无非是在重复20世纪30年代的“推绳子”政策(绳子只能拉不能推,指适得其反的政策)。

转向负利率问题更加严重。全世界总需求持续萎靡,惩罚不发放新贷款的银行将带来一系列新风险。在功能生,这等价于刺激新一波“僵尸贷款”——20世纪90年代贷给毫无偿债能力的日本借款人的不符合经济学原理的贷款。央行政策已经迷失了方向,陷入了危机。世界经济还会远吗?

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