【英语财经】全球经济增长疲软 决策者考虑如何应对 DJ Global Growth Worries Climb

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2014-5-16 12:46

小艾摘要: Five years after the financial crisis ended, soft growth in Europe, a stop-and-start U.S. recovery and waning momentum in China have policy makers groping for what to do next.A spate of worrying econo ...
DJ Global Growth Worries Climb
Five years after the financial crisis ended, soft growth in Europe, a stop-and-start U.S. recovery and waning momentum in China have policy makers groping for what to do next.

A spate of worrying economic data Thursday shook stock and bond markets. Economic activity in the 18-country euro zone expanded at a weak annual rate of 0.8% during the first quarter, data released Thursday showed. Excluding Germany, which grew at a robust 3.3% pace, the rest of the euro-area economy contracted slightly during the quarter.

European Central Bank officials are now moving toward enacting additional low interest-rate policies to prevent the region from sliding into a lengthy period of economic stagnation, while the U.S. Federal Reserve guardedly tries to wind down a bond-buying program meant to revitalize economic growth.

Meantime, Chinese authorities are trying to prod banks to lend more to first-time homebuyers shut out of their real-estate market. U.S. officials privately say they expect Chinese officials to act to boost their economy and support banks if growth slows severely, though Chinese officials say they will avoid major stimulus if it undermines economic overhauls or deepens credit woes.

Underscoring the sense of angst, stock prices dropped sharply Thursday in Europe and the U.S. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 167.16 points, or 1.01%, to 16446.81.

Yields on bonds issued in big developed markets continued to fall Thursday. Yields on German bunds with 10-year maturities sank to 1.307%, their lowest level in a year, while yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell to 2.498%, the lowest level in six months.

'It will take a long time before we see a real recovery,' said Andrea Illy, Chairman and chief executive of Italian coffee maker Illy Caffè. 'I'm really skeptical on how and if we can grow, and I hear the same feelings among entrepreneurs and consumers in Italy.'

New U.S. data released Thursday showed the mixed economic backdrop that Fed officials confront as they scale back a bond-buying program aimed at lowering long-term interest rates, and consider how much longer to keep short-term rates near zero.

U.S. industrial output slumped in April, according to a Fed report, and a survey showed sentiment of U.S. home builders slipped. Many Fed officials believe U.S. growth is rebounding in the second quarter after slumping in the first period largely because of bad weather. Hiring has been robust of late. Still, some officials see the first half of the year shaping up as a disappointment.

'My guess is that we will see some pickup as we get into the second half of the year, but the longer we go without getting the 3% growth that many people had in their forecasts, the more concerned you have to be that there are other things going on that we hadn't fully appreciated,' Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said in an interview Thursday. Mr. Rosengren is in the camp of Fed officials who have supported aggressive responses to slow growth and low inflation.

Complicating matters for the Fed are signs that inflation is heading back toward the Fed's 2% goal after running below that for nearly two years. The U.S. consumer price index rose 2% in April from a year earlier, a notable pickup from a 1.5% pace in March and a 1.1% pace recorded in February.

Mr. Rosengren said it was 'too soon to know' whether the latest figures indicate the economy is heating up enough to push consumer prices much higher. The Fed's preferred measure of inflation, called the personal consumption expenditures price index, is 'still pretty low,' he said.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen told lawmakers last week she expected the central bank to finish winding down its bond-buying program by the fall.

If inflation picks up, it could hasten a Fed discussion about when to start raising interest rates, but such a debate still looks premature. A sharp drop in long-term U.S. interest rates in recent days suggests investors--along with most Fed officials--don't see rate boosts until well into next year at the earliest.

China, the world's second-largest economy, is another major factor shaping the global economic outlook. A report out earlier this week showed 9.9% declines in home sales during the first four months of the year in China, compared to a year earlier. Retail sales and industrial production also slowed.

Authorities have already rolled out what they call 'mini-stimulus' measures. And in one recent sign of concern about China's sluggish property market, People's Bank of China officials earlier this week pushed the nation's major lenders to give priority in mortgage lending to first-time home buyers, according to a statement posted on the central bank's website Tuesday. The central bank also pushed the commercial banks to set mortgage rates at 'reasonable' levels.

For now, though, the most aggressive government efforts to boost growth are taking shape in Europe.

ECB President Mario Draghi put financial markets on notice last week that the bank will probably announce new measures in June to try to lift inflation, which was 0.7% in April, well below the ECB's target of just under 2%.

More officials emerged Thursday in support of Mr. Draghi's comments. 'We are determined to act swiftly, if required, and don't rule out further monetary-policy easing,' ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio said in a speech in Berlin.

At the ECB, as at the Fed, officials have their doubts about how much more they can be expected to do to boost an economy facing a wide range of headwinds, many of which are beyond their control or mandate to confront.

Legacies of the crisis--including debt overhangs, impaired banks, high borrowing costs for small businesses and a general shortage of demand--are combining with Europe's longer-term structural problems, such as rigid labor markets and high taxes on employment, to slow growth.

Although it isn't yet clear how ambitious or effective the ECB's next steps will be, interest-rate cuts and some measures to encourage more bank lending look increasingly likely.

'We're seeing a cyclical pickup in activity, but it's anemic, given the depth of the slump,' said Simon Tilford, deputy director of the Center for European Reform, a nonpartisan think tank in London. 'Typically, you'd expect faster growth in the aftermath of such a recession,' he said.

金融危机结束已经有五年时间了,当前欧洲经济增长疲软,美国的经济复苏走走停停,中国的经济增长动能也正在减弱,决策者不得不思量一下下一步该怎么走。

周四公布的一批经济数据表现令人担忧,股市和债市因此受到冲击。数据显示,欧元区第一季度本地生产总值(GDP)折合成年率仅增长了0.8%。德国经济强劲增长3.3%,但除德国以外的其他欧元区国家第一季度经济小幅萎缩。

为了防止欧元区经济陷入长时间的增长停滞,欧洲央行官员目前准备实施额外的低利率政策,而美国联邦储备委员会(Federal Reserve, 简称:美联储)则在逐步削减旨在提振经济增长的债券购买方案的规模。

与此同时,中国当局正试图鼓励银行向被挡在房地产市场之外的首次购房者提供更多贷款。美国官员私下表示,他们预计如果中国经济增速大幅放缓,中国官员将采取措施提振经济增长以及为银行业提供支撑。但中国官员称,他们将避免实施大规模刺激措施,以免破坏经济改革或加重信贷危机。

欧美股市周四大幅走低,凸显了市场的担忧情绪。道琼斯工业股票平均价格指数下跌167.16点,至16446.81点,跌幅达1.01%。

大型发达国家发行的债券的收益率周四继续下降。10年期德国国债收益率跌至1.307%,触及一年来最低水平;10年期美国国债收益率降至2.498%,触及六个月最低水平。

意大利咖啡生产商意利咖啡(Illy Caffe)董事长兼首席执行长安德烈•意利(Andrea Illy)称,在看到真正的经济复苏之前还得等待很长时间。他表示,他本人对于经济如何或者能否增长持怀疑态度,意大利的企业家和消费者也这么认为。

美联储官员着手缩减旨在降低长期利率的购债项目、琢磨应将接近于零的短期利率维持多久之际,周四发布的美国最新数据凸显出,摆在美联储官员面前的是一个良莠不齐的经济环境。

根据美联储报告,美国4月份工业产值出现滑坡;另据调查,美国建筑商的景气指数也有所下降。许多美联储官员认为,在第一季度经济增长主要受恶劣天气影响而下滑后,第二季度经济增速正在反弹。最近,招聘活动已经表现出强劲迹象。不过,一些官员仍然预计上半年的表现将会不如人意。

波士顿联邦储备银行(Federal Reserve Bank of Boston)行长罗森格伦(Eric Rosengren)周四接受采访时称,他猜测,步入下半年时经济增速将有所升温,然而,越是迟迟达不到许多人原先预期的3%增速,越是需要担心起来,可能还有其他一些没有完全预料到的情况。罗森格伦是美联储中支持采取大规模政策应对增长放缓和低通胀问题的官员之一。

令局面更加复杂的是,有迹象表明,通货膨胀正朝着美联储2%的目标回升,美国通胀率在之前将近两年的时间内都低于这一目标。今年4月份,美国的消费者价格指数(CPI)较上年同期上升了2%,明显高于3月份的1.5%以及2月份的1.1%。

罗森格伦表示,上述数据是否意味着经济回暖程度已经足以推动CPI上升,现在就下定论还为时过早。他说,美联储青睐的通货膨胀衡量指数——个人消费支出价格指数(PCE)仍然非常低。

美联储主席耶伦(Janet Yellen)上周告诉议员们,她预计美联储今年秋天前将完成对购债政策的缩减。

如果通货膨胀回升,就可能推动美联储加快对何时开始加息的讨论。不过,此类讨论似乎还为时过早。最近几天美国长期利率大幅下挫表明,投资者和联储官员认为美联储最快也要到明年才会加息。

另一个左右全球经济前景的重要因素是中国这个全球第二大经济体。本周早些时候的一份报告显示,今年1-4月,中国住宅销售较上年同期减少了9.9%。零售额和工业增加值增速也双双放缓。

中国政府已经推出了他们口中的“微刺激”措施。近期有迹象显示中国政府开始担忧低迷的房地产市场,根据中国央行网站周二发布的一份公告,该行官员本周早些时候要求大型银行优先满足首套房贷需求。央行还要求商业银行将首套房贷款利率水平确定在“合理”水平。

不过,目前看来,欧洲地区采取了最为积极的举措来提振经济增长。

欧洲央行(European Central Bank)行长德拉吉(Mario Draghi)上周成为金融市场焦点。他称,该行可能会在6月份宣布旨在推高通胀率的新措施。欧元区4月份通胀率为0.7%,远低于欧洲央行设定的略低于2%的目标。

周四其他一些欧洲央行官员也表达了对德拉吉上述言论的支持。欧洲央行副行长康斯坦西奥(Vitor Constancio)在柏林发表的一个演讲中称,如有必要,欧洲央行将迅速行动,不排除进一步放松货币政策的可能性。

欧洲央行官员抱有和美联储官员类似的疑问,那就是他们还能够再做些什么来提振面临重重阻力的经济,而眼前很多困难都是他们管理或者授权范围之外的。

金融危机的遗产:债台高筑、饱受重创的银行、小企业高企的借贷成本、需求整体匮乏,加之僵化的就业市场以及高企的工资税率等欧洲地区长期以来的结构性问题,一同导致该地区经济增速放慢。

尽管目前尚不清楚欧洲央行下一步举措的规模和有效性,但是该行下调利率以及推出一些鼓励银行发放贷款的措施的可能性似乎日益加大。

伦敦非党派智库欧洲改革中心(Center for European Reform)的副部长蒂尔福德(Simon Tilford)表示,经济活动出现周期性回升,不过考虑到此前滑坡的幅度,经济形势依旧疲弱。他称,通常来说,在如此程度的衰退之后,经济应当会更快速增长。

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