中国的货币难题

帕洛阿尔托—中国人民银行看起来是不可能赢了。2月末,人民币的渐进升值之路被1%的贬值(至1美元兑6.12元人民币)打断。尽管这对于贸易条件来说无关紧要,特别是与浮动汇率机制的波动相比就更是如此了,但人民币出人意料的贬值激起了一阵全球骚动。

掀起如此骚动并不令人惊奇。毕竟,中国一直饱受外国政府的升值压力——后者错误地认为人民币走强有助于减少中国巨大的贸易盈余。自2008年7月以来(当时的汇率是1美元兑8.28人民币,这一兑换比率已经维持了十年不变),人行或多或少地屈服于这一压力,到2012年为止,每年都保持3%左右的升值幅度。

但是,国际呼声掩盖了未受关注但可能麻烦更大的中国货币政策特征:人民币的零星升值(即使是小幅波动)导致“热钱”的投机性流入。在美国短期利率接近于零以及增长更快的中国银行间“自然”利率接近4%的情况下,(比如)3%的与其升值会导致7%的“有效”利差。这令货币投机者垂涎三尺,他们借入美元,绕过中国的资本管制购买人民币资产。

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