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重振印度经济

发自纽约——不久之前,印度还是新兴经济体中政治稳定和经济增长的楷模。虽然该国在消除贫困和极度不平等方面还有很长的路要走,但在持续GDP增长方面却是世界上最强劲且表现最为平稳的国家之一。如今这一状况却不再出现了。

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在2017年第二季度印度的增长率下降至5.7%。在由《经济学人》杂志提供基本经济数据的主要经济体排名中,印度目前与巴基斯坦不相上下——位列中国,马来西亚和菲律宾之后。而不在这个名单上的邻国孟加拉国目前年增长率超过7%(其人均收入也已经超过了巴基斯坦)。

鉴于印度经济规模庞大且全球联系广泛,经济增长放缓不仅是其国内问题,更在全世界范围内引发了严重关切。但印度如果想要扭转这一趋势还为时未晚,关键在于要精心制定一系列政策以应对众多短期和长期性挑战。

在短期内,政策制定者必须解决印度商品在国内和出口市场的需求下滑问题。所有迹象都指向印度的消费和商业支出下降,事实上,印度的工业生产指数在7月份仅增长了1.2%,去年同期为4.5%;耐用消费品产量下了降1.3%,而在一年前则实现了0.2%的增长。

与此同时,近年来的出口年均增长率下降到仅仅3%,而在2003~08年印度快速增长的时期则为17.8%。这部分归因于卢比汇率走强导致印度产品的国外市场价上涨。实际上进口额也出现了大幅上涨,因为卢比的升值压低了外国货物的相对价格:今年上半年,名义商品进口额就增长了28%。

但进口急剧上升的另一个潜在推动力就是:人们可能会通过高开发票金额的方式以便将资金转移到国外。这可能表明大交易商预期卢比的汇率即将出现修正,他们现在正在积聚美元以便到时抛出换回更多的卢比。

印度当局应当对这一举措感到忧虑——并尽快采取行动。为了在短期内推动国内需求,印度需要凯恩斯主义式的干预政策。为了缓和卢比的升值从而增加外部需求,印度储备银行(印度最受尊敬的机构之一,由一批合格的专业人士组建)必须得到更大的政策空间和自主权。

我会建议印储行进一步降低利率,从而使印度的货币政策与世界其他主要经济体实现更紧密的联动。虽然从全球角度来看当前不断压低利率的趋势并不理想,但事实上如果印度仍然特立独行,就会鼓励所谓的套利交易并人为推高卢比的币值。

印度面临的更大挑战则是如何培育和保持长期性的快速增长。要弄清楚如何实现这一点,就得参考另一个主要新兴经济体——中国——所做出的努力。

作为其产业政策的一部分,中国政府会划定某些特定的经济部门并予以鼓励。印度可以采取类似的做法,而卫生和教育则是其中两个特别有前景的部门。

尽管印度的医疗旅游业已经取得了成功,但仍然拥有无上限的未来发展潜力——尤其是在全球卫生保健费用上涨的背景下。这种旅游所赚取的收入可以帮助该国建立自己的卫生体系,确保所有印度人——包括贫困人口,特别是营养不良的儿童——都能获得优质的医疗保健服务。

同样,印度也可以成为高等教育的中心。对于政府来说,必须创造更多的监管空间并为私营部门提供便利的办学环境。教育产业的繁荣也会为整个印度经济带来巨大的回报。

印度实现长期增长的最后一个组成部分是更广泛的投资。东亚国家的经验(更不不用搬出那些经济理论)表明资本投资是持续经济增长的最有效动力之一。即使在印度,2003年的增长大提速也是伴随着总体投资额的激增。

然而印度的投资与GDP的比率正在下滑,从过去八年的35%以上降至当前不到30%。对此的一部分解释是银行的风险厌恶程度有所增加,开始着手处理不良资产。商业信心的下滑也可能是一个因素。

如果印度实施促进短期增长的政策,同时为长期发展奠定基础,商业信心也会自然上升。 一旦投资回升,印度将能够重拾过去的快速增长——并在未来几年持续下去。 这一成果不仅有利于印度,也将有利于整个全球经济。

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