People sit in the sun outside the the Royal Exchange in the City of London Jack Taylor/Getty Images

要管理预期,央行需要精通社交媒体之道

伦敦—随着全球经济增长的起势,国际货币基金组织(IMF)报告所有G20国家都已经进入扩张阶段,我们也终于正在进入利率和货币政策正常化的过程。这一转变等待了很久,2008年,很少有人预见到当年爆发的金融危机的影响会持续如此长时间。

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平心而论,政策正常化的节奏,不同地区各有不同。目前最领先的是美联储,它已经两次上调利率,而在欧洲和日本,正常化更多只是预期,而不是现实。但总体方向的变化是明确的。

在美联储的《国会货币政策半年报》(Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress)中,美联储主席耶伦(Janet Yellen)预测“联邦基金利率将逐渐上升”。与此同时,美联储已经减少了其美国国债和按揭债券的持有量。换句话说,所谓的量化宽松(QE)在美国正在被QT(量化紧缩)取代。

欧洲央行的意图不那么明确,但对欧元区增长的态度显然已经更加乐观,认为所有与危机相关的就业损失都已经抵消。欧元区QE减磅已是广泛的预期。至于英格兰银行,行长卡尼(Mark Carney)强调近期升息的必要性,因为英国通胀已经大大高于 目标。

但显然,央行官员们对于迅速行动还是颇为紧张,并且担心政策紧缩对金融市场的潜在影响。他们理应担忧。利率在极低水平上保持了很长时间。伦敦上一次升息还是十年前。对于今天的大部分银行交易员来说,升息已经是上古时代的事情了。

因此,你可能会觉得货币当局非常关注为后续动作做好准备。他们认定,影响预期至关重要。如果市场预期它们会采取行动,那么一些必要的调整会提前发生,降低变化的潜在成本。

央行官员在管理市场预期方面做得相当出色,在美国显然是如此。如果美联储在今年再次升息,金融业没有多少人会感到吃惊。

在英国,为行动观点做好准备要更复杂一些。英格兰银行货币政策委员会的投票制度决定了其行长比较难以获知什么时候会出现大部分人支持紧缩的情况,而一些成员的观点,在最近几个月中左右摇摆。尽管如此,卡尼仍在竭尽全力暗示他自己的意图。

但即便金融市场也许做好了准备,个人、家庭和小企业呢?许多国家消费者债务仍然高企,而在英国,显然有不少信号表明提高利率的前景正在促使消费者更多举债。当升息真的发生时,消费者反应过激的危险显然是存在的。

当然,央行通常不会直接面向消费者发话。它们必须依靠多种信息传递渠道,包扩广播电视和个体财经记者,才能抵达商界。英格兰银行最近采取了一些行动安抚消费者,但直接接触面难免非常有限。

而有证据表明,央行的沟通目前与消费市场并不十分契合。在一次有趣的最新讲话中,英格兰银行首席经济学家安迪·哈尔丹(Andy Haldane)用调查证据说明了央行想要影响的群众对央行的理解情况。研究者着眼于理解央行发布讯息所需要的阅读水平,以及有多大比例的群众能够达到这一水平。

结果令人警惕。大约70%的群众能够理解特朗普的竞选演说,60%能够抓住猫王歌曲的歌词大意,但只有2%的群众具备理解美联储公开市场委员会(FOMC)备忘录所必须的阅读能力。

现在,你可以非常合理地推断,不必指望乔(Joe)或乔安娜·布洛(Joanna Blow)在星期六晚上去阅读FOMC的备忘录。但能理解主流媒体所撰写的货币政策报道的群众比例也只有略高于20%。

这个问题不仅仅只有美联储需要面对。英格兰银行货币政策委员会的备忘录在风格上要略微通俗一些,但强不了多少。游说集团通俗英语运动(Campaign for Plain English)说英格兰银行的陈述是“毫无价值,让人不知所云的胡扯”。对于欧洲央行,我们没有可比数据或评判,但我怀疑结果也不会有什么不同。

结果对央行官员来说是失望的,平心而论,近几年来他们一直在加强沟通。不久前,英格兰银行行长仍会因为做出相当不错的晦涩两可的决策而自豪。在过去20年中,这一古怪的态度已经烟消云散。但哈尔丹认为,还需要继续在这个方向上努力。

如今,人们通过各种渠道获得新闻,至于央行,哈尔丹说,“必须确保它们能够直达此前无法到达的社会群体,使用此前它们没有用过的媒体,以尽量肯定的方式说话。”特朗普证明了他能做到这一点,尽管常常因此带来伤害性结果。明年年初履新的美联储主席,不论是耶伦还是新人,都应该考虑特朗普所发扬光大的沟通技巧。

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