【英语财经】发达经济体引领全球经济回暖 Global economy snapping back into gear?

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2016-3-29 22:47

小艾摘要: Just when it all seemed very bleak, the global economy has shown some tentative signs of a rebound in recent weeks. The improved data significantly reduce recession risks in the near term.Last month, ...
Global economy snapping back into gear?
Just when it all seemed very bleak, the global economy has shown some tentative signs of a rebound in recent weeks. The improved data significantly reduce recession risks in the near term.

Last month, in our regular report on the results of our “nowcasts” for world economic activity, we pointed to a sharp weakening in eurozone growth, leading to new lows for global growth in the recent slowdown. The US and China both seemed to be stuck in a prolonged malaise, and the world growth rate had slumped to more than one percentage point below trend.

Furthermore, momentum was negative. Economic commentators, including the IMF and the major central banks, were warning of increased downside risks to global economic projections. In fact, they are still issuing these warnings.

This month, however, the data have failed to co-operate with the pessimists.

Global activity growth has bounced back to 2.6 per cent, compared to a low point of 2.2 per cent a few weeks back. Much of this recovery has occurred in the advanced economies, with our nowcast for the United States showing a particularly marked rebound after more than 12 months of progressive slowdown.

It would be wrong to place too much importance on a single month’s data, especially when the nowcasts are heavily influenced by business and consumer surveys.

These surveys have remained mixed, but downward momentum has been partly reversed in most advanced economies, especially in the US where the regional Fed surveys for March have been identified by the nowcast models as major upside surprises. In fact, sentiment had become so pessimistic that even slightly better data have represented positive surprises relative to economists’ expectations, according to the Citigroup Surprise Indices.

These better numbers still leave the global economy growing at 0.7 per cent below trend, so spare capacity in the world system is still rising, and long term underlying inflation pressures should therefore still be dropping.

Better, but still not very good, is this month’s verdict. Full details of this month’s nowcasts can be found here

(https://www.fulcrumasset.com/assets/Document/MonthlyReportCardAnnexMarch.pdf?1458810923).

Advanced economies lead the improvement….

Recently, the most interesting part of the global story has been focused on the advanced economies (AEs), not the emerging markets. The AEs embarked on a significant slow-down phase almost exactly a year ago, led by disappointments in the US. The eurozone managed to buck this slowing trend for much of 2015, but it caught the American disease early this year.

This phase of increasing AE weakness in the US and Europe eventually infected Japan and other advanced Asian economies as well, and this brought the AE growth rate down from 2.3 per cent in late 2014 to only 1.0 per cent last month – a new low point for AE growth since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, except for a short period during the euro crisis in 2012.

Most economists attributed the slowdown to the effects of weaker exports to the emerging markets, to cutbacks in investment in energy sectors and to increases in real interest rates as inflation fell. In addition, productivity growth refused to rebound from abnormally low levels. Secular stagnation was the talk of the markets.

The improvement in the nowcast this month is therefore very welcome. Growth in the AEs is now estimated to be 1.6 per cent, which is almost exactly equal to the long term trend rate. The rise of 0.6 per cent in the estimated growth rate in a single month is unusually large, but it is supported by the hard data on manufacturing output in the AEs in January and also by encouraging retail sales data, after several months of surprisingly weak consumer spending in the AEs.

When will we ever learn?

The slight improvement in recent data needs to be kept in context. The grim story of downward forecast revisions for growth in the global economy continues. For the fifth successive year, consensus GDP forecasts for 2016 have already been revised downwards by a full percentage point, and they continue to plummet. Even with this month’s better data, the global growth rate is still running about 0.7 percentage points below the consensus forecast for the calendar year, so further downgrades to forecasts look highly probable.

The AE recovery has been led by the United States this month…

The brightest spot in the global economy this month has been the US, where the nowcast has suddenly jumped to 2.2 per cent after a prolonged period when it was stuck around 1.0-1.5 per cent. The Federal Reserve was confident that this would happen but, until this month, published data were not consistent with their relatively bullish view. This has now changed, with a series of upside surprises in activity data published in March, notably in the extremely strong survey data from the regional Feds. This includes the Philadelphia Fed business survey, which (on J.P. Morgan’s estimates) has been the most accurate predictor of US manufacturing output lately.

It now seems likely that the US manufacturing sector has rebounded as inventories have stabilised, the effects of the strong dollar have abated, and cutbacks in energy investment have ended. For the first time since the first half of 2015, US activity growth now seems to be slightly above trend.

Meanwhile, last month’s drop in eurozone growth is mostly still intact….

In February, the most significant change in the nowcasts was a sharp drop in eurozone growth, ending a period in which the eurozone had seemed more robust than the US. We mentioned at the time that the drop in the estimated growth rate to only 0.8 per cent owed much to the retrenchment in business surveys in February, including those in Germany, which might have been statistical outliers. Sure enough, there was some improvement in these surveys in March, and the estimated growth rate has recovered slightly to about 1.2 per cent. But the relatively strong (above trend) performance of the eurozone economy, which persisted throughout 2015, seems to have ended for the time being.

China has weakened but policy is easing markedly…

China continues its pattern of mini cycles which last less than a year from peak-to-peak, super-imposed on a gradually declining trend rate of growth. It is not clear what causes this pattern, though it may be due in part to repeated bursts of policy support which periodically push the growth rate above trend, before fading away.

The latest mini cycle embarked on a downward phase in January 2016, and it has taken the activity growth rate down to only about 5.o per cent, the lowest rates recorded since the Great Recession. In contrast to previous episodes, the markets have not shown much concern about this dip in growth, apparently believing it to be temporary. It is clear that fiscal and monetary policy are now in expansionary territory, and this should lead to a recovery soon, albeit one that is based, as usual, on fixed investment.

As last week’s blog mentioned, the market’s insouciance may be connected to an improvement in the credibility of Chinese macro-economic and exchange rate strategy, compared to the implosion of confidence that followed confusing policy communications in 2015.

正当一切看似非常暗淡之际,全球经济最近几周却显现出反弹的初步迹象。经济增长数据的改善显著降低了近期出现衰退的风险。

上月,在我们关于世界经济活动“短时预测”结果的定期报告中,我们指出,欧元区经济增长大幅放缓导致全球增速在近期的放缓中触及新的低点。美国和中国似乎都陷入了长期萎靡,世界经济增长率已下挫至趋势增长率之下逾一个百分点。

此外,那时增长势头也不乐观。包括国际货币基金组织(IMF)及各大央行在内的经济评估机构已经在全球经济预测中发出了下行风险增加的警告。实际上,他们仍在发布此类警告。

然而,本月的数据并未契合悲观论者的预测。

相比几周前2.2%的低点,全球经济增速已反弹至2.6%。此番反弹主要发生在发达经济体,我们对美国的短时预测显示,在经历超过12个月的逐步放缓后,美国经济出现了尤为明显的反弹。

不应过于看重单个月的数据,尤其是在短时预测深受企业和消费者调查影响之际。

调查结果依然混杂多样,但大多数发达经济体的下行势头在一定程度上得到了扭转,尤其是在美国,我们的短时预测模型发现,3月份美国地区联储的调查结果显示出较大的上行惊喜。实际上,花旗意外指数(Citigroup Surprise Indices)显示,市场情绪此前已经变得如此悲观,相对经济学家的预期,即使稍微好一点的数据都代表着惊喜。

虽然数据有所改善,但全球经济增长率仍比趋势增长率低0.7个百分点,因此,世界经济体系中的闲置产能仍在增加,长期潜在通胀压力应该还会下降。

对本月经济数据的评价应该是有所改善,但仍不是很好。本月详细短时预测请点击这里。

发达经济体引领增长数据改善……

近期,全球增长最引人注意的地方都集中在发达经济体,而非新兴市场。几乎就在一年前,发达经济体开始进入大幅放缓阶段,为首的便是令人失望的美国。欧元区成功地在2015年大部分时间里顶住了这种放缓趋势,但在今年初也陷入了同美国一样的放缓。

美欧发达经济体这一时期不断加剧的疲软最终波及到了日本及其他亚洲发达经济体,使得发达经济体增长率从2014年末的2.3%下降至上月的仅1.0%,成为自2009年大衰退(Great Recession)结束以来发达经济体增长率的新低点——除了2012年欧元危机期间的一小段时期。

多数经济学家将发达经济体增长放缓归因于对新兴市场出口放缓带来的影响、能源行业投资的缩减以及伴随通胀率下降的实际利率上升。此外,生产率增长还未从异常低的水平实现反弹。市场普遍谈论的是长期停滞。

因此,本月短时预测的改善深受欢迎。发达经济体现在的增速估计为1.6%,几乎与长期趋势增长率持平。估计增长率在一个月内就上升0.6个百分点,这个升幅非常大,但这是受到了1月发达经济体制造业产出的过硬数据、以及令人鼓舞的零售销售数据的支撑,在此之前,发达经济体在多个月里消费支出异常疲软。

我们何时才能学到教训?

近期数据的小幅改善需要放到大背景中分析。全球经济增长预测下调的严峻形势依然持续。2016年GDP增长共识预测已下调了1个百分点,这已是连续第五年预测下调,而且还在大幅下降中。即使本月数据有所改善,全球经济增长速度仍比2016年共识预测低0.7个百分点左右,因此预测数值极有可能出现进一步下调。

美国本月引领发达经济体回暖……

本月美国经济表现在全球经济中一枝独秀,其增速短时预测突然跃升至2.2%,此前长期停滞在1.0%-1.5%左右。美联储之前就有信心会出现这一局面,但直到本月之前,所公布数据与其相对乐观的观点并不一致。但这种情况现已改变,3月份公布的经济活动数据带来一连串惊喜,尤其是地方联储极为强劲的调查数据。其中包括费城联邦储备银行(Philadelphia Fed)的商业调查,据摩根大通(J.P. Morgan)的估计,该调查最近是对美国制造业产出最准确的预测。

目前看来美国制造业似乎已经反弹,库存已企稳,强势美元的影响有所减轻,能源领域投资削减已结束。自2015年上半年以来,美国经济增长首次略高于趋势。

与此同时,上月欧元区经济增长下滑基本仍维持原状……

2月份短时预测最显著的变化是欧元区经济增长急剧下滑,结束了欧元区经济表现看起来强于美国经济的时期。我们曾提到过,估计增长率下滑至仅0.8%,在很大程度上是因为2月份商业调查(包括德国的商业调查)数据走弱,这种情况可能是统计离群值。果然,3月份这些调查的结果有所改善,估计增长率小幅回升至1.2%左右。但欧元区经济贯穿整个2015年的相对较强(高于趋势)的表现似乎已暂时告一段落。

中国经济增长走弱,但政策明显放宽……

中国仍持续着迷你循环模式,从一个波峰到下一个波峰的每次循环持续不到一年的时间,与之重叠的是趋势经济增长率逐渐下降。目前还不清楚是什么原因导致这种模式,不过部分原因可能是一波又一波的政策支持推动增长率高于趋势,然后这些支持的影响慢慢减弱。

最新这次迷你循环在2016年1月进入下行阶段,使经济增长速度下降到仅5%左右,创大衰退以来最低纪录。相较于之前,市场并没有对这次增速下降予以太多关注,显然认为这是暂时情况。财政和货币政策目前明显处于扩张区间,应该很快可以带来回暖,尽管是与以往一样基于固定投资的回暖。

正如上周博客中曾提到过的,相比于2015年混乱的政策沟通引起的信任危机,中国宏观经济和汇率策略的可信度都有所改善,市场的不在意可能与此有关。

译者/何黎

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