来自华盛顿的警报

发自纽黑文——毫无疑问,在最后一刻达成债务上限协议的美国人又躲过了一颗致命子弹。但如今留给人们去弥合理念和党派分歧的时间只剩下90天,美国债务炸弹的引信也变得越来越短。随着一个失能的美国政府逐渐滑向深渊,中国这个美方最大的外国债权人也危在旦夕了。

事情原本并没有那么复杂。在2000年时中国只拥有价值约600亿美元的美国国债,约占美国3.3万亿美元超额公共债务的2%。但随后两国都增加了在美国财政这个浪荡公子身上的赌注。美国的负债规模暴涨到近12万亿美元(如果包括政府内部持有负债的话就达16.7万亿美元)。而中国占美国超额公共持有债务的比例也翻了五番,截至2013年7月达到近11%(1.3万亿美元)。再加上其持有的美国政府机构债务(房地美和房利美),中国手中这2万亿美元政府和准政府债券无论以何种标准衡量都是极为庞大的。

中国对美国政府债券看似无穷无尽的收购正是把两大经济体捆绑在一起的那张相互依存网络的核心。中国购买美国债券并非出于仁慈或是认为美国是财富和繁荣的优秀榜样。它显然也不是被这些美国政府印出的纸片所带来的回报以及貌似毫无风险的安全性所吸引——这两者在零利率时代和不断增大的违约忧虑之下都岌岌可危。同时中国人这样做也不是出于同情;它购买债券可不是为了缓解美国财政冒险行为所带来的痛苦。

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