【英语财经】中国经济政策难度加大 Price rises threaten to stifle China easing

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2014-6-10 18:53

小艾摘要: Chinese consumer inflation picked up in May following a dip in April that had raised concerns about the danger of deflation in the world’s second-largest economy.The headline consumer price index ros ...
Price rises threaten to stifle China easing
Chinese consumer inflation picked up in May following a dip in April that had raised concerns about the danger of deflation in the world’s second-largest economy.

The headline consumer price index rose 2.5 per cent from a year earlier, compared with a 1.8 per cent increase in April, but remained well below the government’s “upper limit” target of 3.5 per cent for the year. Producer prices also ticked higher but remained in deflationary territory, where they have been for more than two years.

While politically sensitive consumer inflation remains low and relatively stable, Beijing’s recent efforts to support flagging growth through looser monetary policy could be complicated if price increases start to accelerate.

Tuesday’s data underline the balancing act the Chinese authorities face.

On Monday, the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, cut the proportion of deposits that smaller banks need to hold in reserve in the latest move aimed at boosting growth that has slowed considerably since the start of 2014.

The move was largely symbolic, with analysts estimating it would release only around Rmb50bn ($8bn) of extra liquidity into the interbank market.

But the decision provides further proof of the Chinese leadership’s commitment to keeping growth high, even at the expense of reforms that are intended to put the economy on a sustainable long-term footing.

Officially, China’s monetary policy remains “prudent” but in recent weeks there have been a series of targeted moves to provide more liquidity to parts of the economy the government feels are vulnerable.

This has been accompanied by greater efforts to rein in some of the riskiest types of shadow banking, in particular high-interest short-term “trust products”.

Trust products are essentially loans to the riskiest borrowers in China that have been repackaged and resold to investors.

Recent data suggest regulators have had some success in curbing these parts of the financial system, leaving them more room for targeted easing measures without the fear of reinflating bubbles and exacerbating distortions.

Beijing has also unveiled a series of “mini-stimulus” measures, such as accelerated construction of public housing and railways, to pump up growth rates and utilise some of the enormous overcapacity in construction materials like cement and steel.

Support for infrastructure construction is looking increasingly urgent as property markets across the country have been hit by falling sales and prices and new residential real estate construction has stalled in many places.

In comments released by state media on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang exhorted officials to prioritise continued rapid growth with “a sense of responsibility and urgency.”

“We said in the past that government officials should not be evaluated only by GDP growth, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to keep reasonable growth,” he said. “The whole Communist party, central as well as local government, should take responsibility for ensuring the [government’s economic] targets are achieved successfully.”

The comments were the strongest from China’s top leaders on the importance of growth so far this year and have been interpreted as a signal of further easing to come.

“We believe this increases pressure on the People’s Bank of China to loosen monetary policy further in the next few months,” said Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura. “Policy easing has become significant from a macro perspective.”

中国居民消费价格指数(CPI)5月重新提速。这一数据在4月一度放缓,曾让人们担心这个全球第二大经济体将面临通缩危险。

中国5月CPI指数同比上涨2.5%,高于4月份1.8%的涨幅,但仍远远低于中国政府为今年设定的3.5%的涨幅上限。生产者物价指数(PPI)连续第27个月下降,不过5月份1.4%的降幅要远低于4月份2%的降幅。

CPI指数在中国具有政治敏感性,虽然仍处于低位,且相对稳定,但如果物价上涨开始提速,那么中国政府最近通过放松货币政策刺激经济的努力可能会变得更加复杂。

周二的数据突显出中国政府“平衡术”的难度。

周一,中国央行(PBoC)定向下调了一些规模较小的银行的存款准备金率,旨在提振经济。中国经济自2014年初以来已大幅放缓。

这一举措在很大程度上是象征性的。分析师估计,此举仅会向银行间市场释放约500亿元人民币(合80亿美元)的流动性。

然而,此举进一步表明,中国领导层仍致力于维持经济的高速增长,即便这意味着对经济增长模式的改革步伐会放缓。

中国官方仍表示将维持“审慎”的货币政策,但最近几周,政府采取了一系列有针对性的举措,向它认为较为脆弱的经济领域提供了更多流动性。

与此同时,中国正加大努力,控制影子银行业中一些风险最高的领域,特别是那些高息短期的信托产品。

信托产品募集的资金,实际上流向了在中国风险最高的一批借款者,而这些产品被重新打包并转售给了投资者。

最近的数据显示,监管机构在控制金融体系的风险领域方面取得了一些成功,这让他们有更大余地来实施针对性的宽松举措,而不必担心泡沫被重新吹大、经济结构变得更加扭曲。

中国政府还推出了一系列“微刺激”举措,例如加速建设公共住房和铁路,以提高经济增速,并利用水泥和钢铁等建筑材料行业的部分巨大过剩产能。

刺激基础设施建设看上去正变得越来越紧迫,因为全国房地产市场受到销量和价格下滑的影响,很多地方的新建住宅建设陷入停滞。

据国有媒体周二的报道,中国国务院总理李克强督促政府官员带着“责任感和紧迫感”,将经济持续快速增长作为优先任务。

“我们说,不唯GDP论英雄,不片面追求GDP,但这并不是不要经济发展的合理速度,”李克强说。“全党上下、各级政府都要担负起各自的职责,确保今年制定的经济社会发展各项指标顺利完成。”

这是今年迄今中国最高领导人就增长重要性发表的措辞最为强烈的言论,被解读为政策将进一步放松的信号。

“我们认为,这将加大中国央行在未来几个月进一步放松货币政策的压力,”野村(Nomura)首席中国经济学家张智威表示,“从宏观的角度来看,政策放松意义重大。”

译者/梁艳裳

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