重新平衡欧元区

华盛顿—欧元区危机之发酵,首先是作为多发生于南欧外围国家的主权债务危机,意大利和西班牙的主权债券利率数次达到了6—7%的水平,其他国家甚至更高。而欧元区银行有很大一部分资产以欧元区主权债券形式持有,于是主权债务危机演变成了一场潜在银行危机,并因银行的其他损失而恶化,比如西班牙房地产价格的崩盘。因此,解决欧元区危机的关键挑战是降低南欧国家的债务负担。

一国债务负担的挑战反映了其基本预算余额(预算余额减去利息支出)占GDP的比重规模以及其借贷成本与其GDP增长率之差。当借贷成本与增长率之差过大时,阻止债务增加所要求的预算盈余就会变得太高而不可能达到。事实上,在未来两年中,南欧增长率预期将接近于零甚至为负,从较长时间看也不会超过2—3%。

尽管新闻标题上很少提及,但欧元区危机的一大基本原因——以及如今南欧增长的一大障碍——是外围国家(主要是“南欧”国,以希腊、西班牙和葡萄牙为首)和“北欧”国(简单起见,可以德国代之)在使用欧元的第一个十年中生产成本的日渐分化。2000—2010年间,四大南欧国家单位劳动成本分别增长了36%、28%、30%和25%,而德国只增长了不到5%,这导致了希腊对德国的单位劳动成本累积差别达到了30%以上,葡萄牙、意大利和西班牙达到了20%以上。

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