RMB banknotes in a wallet Zhang Peng/Getty Images

全球经济的三个情景

纽约—在过去几年中,全球经济在加速(增长为正并不断强化)和减速(增长为正但不断弱化)之间来回震荡。在经历了一年多加速后,世界会走向又一次减速,还是能够持续复苏?

The Year Ahead 2018

The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

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最近的增长和股市上升趋势自2016年夏天以来一直保持强劲。尽管在英国退欧公投后略有反复,整个加速过程不仅没有因为特朗普当选美国总统而夭折,还挺过了他所造成的巨大的政策不确定性和地缘政治混乱。面对如此显而易见的恢复力,在近几年中将全球增长描述为“新平庸”(new mediocre)的国际货币基金组织(IMF),最近修正了其世界经济展望

当前增长强势能够在未来几年得到保持吗?还是世界只是在经历一场短暂的周期性上扬,很快就会被新的尾部风险所压制,重蹈最最近几年的覆辙?想想2015年夏和2016年初,投资者担心中国硬着陆、美联储过快退出零政策利率、美国GDP增长停滞和低油价将共同削弱增长。

可以为未来三年左右的全球经济构想出三种可能的情景。在利好情景中,全球四大具系统重要性的经济体:中国、欧元区、日本和美国——都将实施提振潜在增长、解决金融弱点的结构性改革。这些措施将保证周期性上扬与更强的潜在和实际增长相关,从而产生稳健的GDP增长、低但温和上升的通胀,以及未来多年的相对金融稳定。美国和全球股市将创出新高,证实基本面的好转。

在利空情景中,情况完全相反:世界主要经济体没有实施提振潜在增长的结构性改革。中国没有利用本月的中共党代会作为改革催化剂,而是选择回避问题,继续走过度负债和产能过剩之路。欧元区没有实现更大程度的一体化,同时政治约束限制了国家决策者实施提振增长的结构性改革的能力。日本仍然陷在其低增长轨迹中难以自拔,供给侧改革和贸易自由化——首相安倍晋三的经济战略的第三支“箭”——宣布失败。

至于美国,在这一情景中,特朗普政府继续追求大大削弱潜在增长的贸易方针——包括一边倒地有利于富人的减税、贸易保护主义和移民限制。过度财政刺激导致赤字和债务失控,从而带来更高的利率和美元升值,进一步制约增长。好斗的特朗普甚至有可能与朝鲜——随后还有伊朗——开启军事冲突,进一步恶化美国的经济前景。

在这一情景中,主要经济体改革缺位将让周期性上扬受制于低趋势增长率。如果潜在增长保持低迷,宽松的货币和信用政策最终将推高商品和/或资产通胀,最终造成经济减速——有可能还会带来全面衰退和金融危机——如果泡沫破裂或通胀上扬的话。

第三种——在我看来,也是最有可能的一种——情景介于前两者之间。周期性上扬——不论是增长还是股市——将在顺风的推动下持续一段时间。但是,尽管主要经济体采取了一些结构性改革以改善潜在增长,变化的速度远远赶不上潜力最大化的要求,规模也过于温和。

在中国,这一差强人意的前景意味着改革堪堪避免硬着陆,但不足以实现真正的软着陆;金融弱点没能得到解决,随着时间的推移,险情不可避免。在欧元区,这一情景包括仅仅在名义上实现了更进一步的一体化,德国仍然拒绝真正的风险共担和财政联盟,这使得受困成员国没有什么动力采取艰难的改革。在日本,效率日益低下的安倍政府将实施最低限度改革,潜在增长难以超过1%。

在美国,特朗普的总统任期将继续摇摆而低效,越来越多的美国人将意识到,尽管摆出一副十足的民粹主义模样,但特朗普其实只是个保护富人利益的财阀。不平等性愈演愈烈;中产阶级停滞不前;工资鲜有增长;消费和投资继续低迷,难以接近2%。

但差强人意的风险远远不止于平庸的经济表现。这一情景不是稳定的均衡,而只是不稳定的均衡,很容易受到经济、金融和地缘政治冲击。当这些冲击最终发生时,经济将陷入减速,而如果冲击足够大的话,甚至有可能出现衰退和金融危机。

换句话说,如果世界只能做到差强人意——看起来可能性相当大——不出三四年也许就得面临利空情景。教训是明确的:要么政治领袖和决策者拿出确保更好的中期前景所需要的领导力,要么下行风险不久之后就成为现实——并给全球经济造成严重危害。

http://prosyn.org/d4cezQj/zh;

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