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海外之声 | 美国货币谜团:需要明晰与规范(中英双语)

来源:华讯财经 编辑:华讯编辑 时间:2019年02月04日 04:38:33

原标题:海外之声 | 美国货币谜团:需要明晰与规范(中英双语)

观点速递

本文作者是美国驻国际货币基金组织代表、美国财政部国际货币和金融政策部原助理部长马克·索贝尔。原文选自OMFIF Commentary,OMFIF是一家总部位于伦敦的全球金融智库。

作者指出,美国两党遵循同样的货币政策,支持不加干预的自由浮动。他们对G3官员施压,不允许其评论货币市场的发展。但实际上,关于货币的探讨存在各种不同的声音。激烈的G3货币言论可能会扰乱市场。而美国的政策结构使局面更加混乱。特朗普政府关注全球失衡、货币问题和全球经济增长,这是正确的。然而,其实际行动使其很难实现这一议程,还同时增加了世界经济风险。

中文译文如下:

美国货币谜团

需要明晰与规范

马克·索贝尔

翻译:周彤

审校:陆可凡

2018年5月25日

二十多年来,美国政府,民主党和共和党都遵循同样的货币政策。他们支持不加干预的自由浮动,特别是对美国,欧洲和日本。他们对G3官员施压,不允许其评论货币市场的发展。当受到不可避免的压迫时,他们则表示强烈支持“强势美元”。美国政府专注于遏制全球过度失衡,特别是过剩。

两党美元政策背后的关键动机,是美国在避免过度依赖自身作为世界经济增长的引擎,以及抵制保护主义方面时的利益。

特朗普政府有理由去抱怨那些试图压低汇率的国家,特别是那些有时会严重干预以限制本币升值的顺差国。此外,特朗普政府也正确地指出,美国经济的健康状况将决定美元的长期价值。

然而有一点很重要,那就是经过此前的一系列失误,华盛顿一直在摆脱传统的货币政策,从而削弱了美国的信誉,很难追求自身利益。

美国政府混乱的货币言论是最明显的例子。要纠正这种情况,一个简单易行的方法是:恢复口头规范。探讨货币的人应该越少越好,最好只有一个人,那就是是财政部长。

目前,关于货币的探讨有各种不同的声音。即便有人认为美元过强,总统仍传播着想要强势美元的言论。总统顾问彼得纳瓦罗评论了欧元的估值。财政部长史蒂文姆努钦1月份表示,美元走软将会带来贸易机会。国家经济委员会主任拉里库德洛就美元和金价也发表了评论。

美国货币评论可能显得无伤大雅,但其实不尽然。这些言论使得美国很难说服其他人克制口头评论。日本官员在压低日元方面有着悠久的历史。仅在姆努钦评论几周后,日本人重新担忧单边货币走势——也就是对日元升值的厌恶。尽管欧洲人比日本人更有艺术气息,但他们一直都不愿意为支持经济增长或推动通胀而放松货币。欧元区官员在今年早些时候就曾批评姆努钦的言论,似乎担心美元走低会削弱欧洲的复苏。

官方放开货币言论是货币市场一直以来的特征。另一些国家则经常试图降低本国货币,希望通过向美国出口来促进国内就业。激烈的G3货币言论可能会扰乱市场。

在经历了继金融危机后有关“货币战争”的不利讨论后,2013年美国制定了G7和G20协议,即各国不会针对汇率制定协议,总的来说就是避免压低本币汇率。各国政府应该加强贯彻这些协议。

另一方面,近期的G20关于货币的探讨出现了一些新苗头。人们对埋头于不盯住汇率或寻求竞争性贬值的的行为提出了新的说法:“强劲的基本面、稳健的政策和弹性的国际货币体系对汇率的稳定至关重要,有助于强劲和可持续的增长和投资。”这取自国际货币与金融委员会于2017年10月向国际货币基金组织理事会提供咨询意见的公报。

这句话的第一部分毋庸置疑。但第二部分却令人困惑。汇率的稳定有助于强劲和可持续增长似乎没什么问题。但也可以解读为:“汇率稳定”应成为促进强劲增长和投资的政策目标或最终目的。

这将违背七国集团的言论,即根据本国政策来实现各自目标。这会引发很多关于政策的问题。G3是否会像之前所承诺的那样保持浮动利率?美联储,欧洲中央银行和日本央行是否准备调整货币政策以促进货币稳定?他们是否能准备好干预货币市场以求稳定?

美国财政部和美联储与G7和G20的其他成员签署了新的决定。当G7财长和央行行们五月底在加拿大会面时,应该解释为什么会有这种新的决议,以及它的具体含义。如果他们不能阐明的话,就应该摒弃这些说法。

美国的政策结构使局面更加混乱。美国长期以来一直强迫顺差国家加强内需,并停止依赖出口拉动带来的经济增长。认为这是促进更平衡的世界经济所需努力的一部分。

但我们现在正在目睹美国的顺周期财政扩张,而美联储正在加息,并逐渐缩减其资产负债表。美国经济增长和利率上升可能会维持美元需求并削弱外汇,从而扩大美国的经常账户赤字。今年4月,国际货币基金组织将对美国2018年和2019年的经济增长预测较六个月前分别上调0.6和0.8个百分点,预计美国的经常账户赤字也将出现类似幅度的增长。

其他国家则认为美国贸易逆差扩大是其自身造成的。他们责怪美国加剧全球失衡。在期待增加对美国出口的同时,却忽视自己对持续过度失衡所承担的责任。而实际上,他们则指望美国的贸易逆差增加不会刺激美国对他们施加保护主义压力。

特朗普政府关注全球失衡、货币问题和全球经济增长,这是正确的。然而,其实际行动使其很难实现这一议程,还同时增加了世界经济风险。

英文原文如下:

America's currency confusion

Needed: more clarity and discipline

Mark Sobel

25 May 2018

For more than two decades, American administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have followed the same currency playbook. They backed free floating, especially for the US, Europe and Japan, without intervention. They pressed G3 officials not to comment on currency market developments. When unavoidably pressed to do so, they stated rote support for a 'strong dollar'. And they focused on curbing excessive global imbalances, especially surpluses.

Key motivations behind bipartisan dollar policy have been US interests in avoiding excessive reliance on America as the engine for world growth and in resisting protectionist pressures.

The Trump administration is right to complain about countries seeking to weaken exchange rates, especially surplus countries that at times heavily intervene to limit appreciation. Furthermore, the administration correctly says that the health of the US economy will determine the dollar's long-run value.

Yet, in important ways, through a series of missteps, Washington has been backing away from its traditional currency playbook. This erodes US credibility and the ability to pursue its interests.

The administration's confused currency rhetoric is the most obvious symptom. There is one simple means to rectify this: restore verbal discipline. Only one person should speak on currencies – and as rarely as possible. That should be the Treasury secretary.

At present, communication comes through multiple voices. The president has interspersed comments on wanting a strong dollar with others suggesting the dollar is too strong. Presidential adviser Peter Navarro has commented on the euro's valuation. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin observed this January that a weaker dollar is good for US trading opportunities. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, has commented on the dollar as well as on gold prices.

US currency comments may appear innocent and innocuous, but that is often not so. They hurt America's ability to persuade others to practise verbal self-restraint. Japanese officials have a long history of talking down the yen. Only weeks after Mnuchin's comments, the Japanese returned to fretting about one-sided currency movements – code for an aversion to yen appreciation. Chatty Europeans, while more artful than the Japanese, have never been slouches about wishing a weaker currency to support growth or boost inflation. Euro area officials quickly chimed in earlier this year to criticiseMnuchin'scomments, seemingly worried that a lower dollar would weaken Europe's recovery.

Official open-mouth operations are a longstanding feature of currency markets. Others often try to push their currencies lower in the hope of boosting jobs at home through exports to the US. Conflicting G3 currency rhetoric can unsettle markets.

Following harmful discussions about 'currency wars' in the wake of the financial crisis, the US in 2013 forged G7 and G20 agreements that countries would not target their exchange rates, and more generally would refrain from talking down their currencies. Officials should do a better job of sticking to these agreements.

Another possible symptom is that something new has appeared in recent G20 currency language. Buried among long-standing refrains about not targeting exchange rates or seeking competitive devaluations is a new sentence: 'Strong fundamentals, sound policies, and a resilient international monetary system are essential to the stability of exchange rates, contributing to strong and sustainable growth and investment.' This comes from the communiqué of the meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, which advises the International Monetary Fund's board of governors, in October 2017.

The first part of the sentence is uncontroversial. But the second part is confusing. That stability of exchange rates contributes to strong and sustainable growth is seemingly incontrovertible. But it can also be read as implying that 'stability of exchange rates' should be a target or objective of policy to promote strong growth and investment.

That would go against G7 language about meeting domestic objectives with domestic instruments. And it would raise large questions about policy. Is the G3 as committed as before to floating rates? Are the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of Japan ready to alter monetary policy to help promote currency stability? Could they be prepared to intervene in currency markets to foster stability?

The Treasury and Fed, along with the rest of the G7 and G20, have signed off on the new language. When G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meet at the end of May in Canada, they should explain why there is this new sentence and what it means. If they can't tell us, they should erase it.

Confusion is exacerbated by the US policy mix. The US has long pressed surplus countries to bolster domestic demand and stop depending on export-led growth. This is part of efforts to foster a better-balanced world economy.

But we are now witnessing a procyclical US fiscal expansion, and the Fed is raising interest rates and winding down its balance sheet. Higher US growth and interest rates may sustain dollar demand and weaken foreign currencies, widening the US current account deficit. The IMF in April raised its US growth projection for 2018 and 2019 by 0.6 and 0.8 percentage points respectively compared with six months earlier, and projected similarly higher US current account shortfalls.

Other countries are poised to argue that higher US trade deficits are made in America. They will blame the US for widening global imbalances. While looking forward to increased exports to the US, they will ignore their own responsibilities for persistent excessive imbalances. Behind the scenes, they will hope that higher US trade deficits will not simply galvanise US protectionist pressure against them.

The Trump administration is rightly focusing on global imbalances, currency issues, and stronger global growth. However, its actions are weakening its ability to pursue this agenda, adding to world economic risks.

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