【英语财经】特朗普挑战“强势美元”政策 Donald Trump tests strong US dollar mantra

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2016-5-18 20:17

小艾摘要: Donald Trump has drawn scorn from economists for his threats to launch a trade war with China and to renegotiate the terms of US sovereign debt. Less noticed, however, have been the Republican preside ...
Donald Trump tests strong US dollar mantra
Donald Trump has drawn scorn from economists for his threats to launch a trade war with China and to renegotiate the terms of US sovereign debt. Less noticed, however, have been the Republican presidential candidate’s apparent threats to dismantle another decades-old American orthodoxy: the “strong dollar” policy.

The property developer has been consistent in recent months in warning against a strong exchange rate, even though the US has — notionally at least — adhered to a “strong dollar” policy since the 1990s.

In August last year Mr Trump declared the dollar was “hurting” the US and leading to “huge disadvantages” for companies’ competitiveness. “It sounds good to say ‘we have a strong dollar’. But that’s about where it stops,” he told one interviewer.

Mr Trump doubled down on that message earlier this month, saying that while he loved the concept of a strong dollar, it risked causing havoc for the US economy while delighting China, which he and others accuse of engaging in years of currency manipulation aimed at gaining a competitive advantage over American manufacturers.

To some in the Washington economic policy establishment this is dangerous talk.

“I think if Donald Trump is elected president we should very much expect that his administration would use exchange rate policy to try and get a smaller trade deficit,” said Robert Kahn, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who served as a senior official at the US Treasury under then treasury secretary Robert Rubin.

Such a policy would likely lead to retaliation by trading partners, argued Mr Kahn, potentially resulting in lower growth, weaker trade and a weaker dollar. It could also undermine the status of the dollar as a global reserve currency.

Ted Truman, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former head of the Federal Reserve’s international finance division, said if the words become a key pillar of Mr Trump’s campaign, they could start to impact financial markets. “The best thing to do is say nothing at all,” he said.

US presidents have generally avoided commentary on the dollar or repeated variations of the phrase first coined by Mr Rubin in 1995 that “a strong dollar is in the interest of the United States”. The main reason is the view that it is counterproductive to try to fine-tune currency policy by attempting to talk up or down the value of dollar.

Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, said there had been broad continuity in the US executive branch’s currency strategy through the Clinton, Bush and Obama regimes. “Trump could change that,” he added.

Asked on Friday about Mr Trump’s comments on the dollar, Jack Lew, the treasury secretary, deployed his mantra that the strong dollar was a reflection of the US’s relative strength. “If other countries move towards competitive devaluation it will start a chain reaction,” he said at a Washington breakfast. “Pretty soon you are in a battle over shares of a shrinking global pie.”

Yet in reality, US officials’ strong dollar rhetoric has tended to accompany private concerns when a rising currency has been hurting US exporters. That has certainly been the case in recent years, with the dollar’s gains playing a role in inhibiting the Fed from increasing rates more rapidly.

In March 2015 Janet Yellen, the Fed chair, said the currency’s level reflected in part the strength of the US economy, but added that it was one reason for a weakening in export growth, which she expected to exert a “notable drag” on the economy. In March this year the Fed pared back its forecasts for rate increases, citing global economic and financial risks — central to which is a surging dollar.

The Fed was also accused of setting off an international currency war in the wake of the 2008 crisis after it used quantitative easing to increase the monetary supply, which had the effect of weakening the dollar.

Some economists are less critical of Mr Trump’s views on the dollar. “Mr. Trump’s repudiation of the strong dollar mantra certainly elevates economic realism over empty rhetoric,” said Eswar Prasad, an economist and author of “The Dollar Trap”, a book about the greenback’s rise as a global reserve currency.

“His symbolic delinking of dollar strength from US economic strength could have the salutary effect of liberating future presidential candidates and Treasury secretaries from having to make ritualistic commitments to a strong dollar”.

因威胁要对中国发动贸易战并重新谈判美国主权债务条款,唐纳德?特朗普(Donald Trump)招来了经济学家的嘲讽。然而,很少有人注意到,这位共和党总统候选人正在直白地威胁要废除美国另一项延续数十年之久的正统做法——“强势美元政策

近几个月来,这位地产开发商一直在告诫人们提防美元的强势汇率,尽管美国(至少在理论上)自上世纪90年代一直坚守“强势美元”政策。

去年8月,特朗普曾宣称,美元正在“伤害”美国,导致美国企业的竞争力面临“巨大劣势”。他对一名采访他的记者表示:“‘我们有强势美元’说起来好听。但是也就是说起来好听而已。”

本月早些时候,特朗普进一步抬高论调,宣称虽然他喜欢强势美元的概念,但它有可能对美国经济造成严重破坏,又正中中国下怀。特朗普等人指责中国多年来一直在操纵汇率,目标是获得相对美国制造商的竞争优势。

在华盛顿经济政策制定圈的某些人士看来,这种言论是危险的。

美国对外关系委员会(Council on Foreign Relations)高级研究员、曾在罗伯特?鲁宾(Robert Rubin)担任财长期间任财政部高级官员的罗伯特?卡恩(Robert Kahn)说:“我认为,如果唐纳德?特朗普当选总统,我们应当做好这样的心理准备,特朗普政府会利用汇率政策,设法缩小贸易赤字。”

卡恩表示,此类政策可能招致贸易伙伴的报复,有可能导致增长放缓、贸易减弱、美元走软。这样做还可能削弱美元作为全球储备货币的地位。

彼得森国际经济研究所(Peterson Institute for International Economics)研究员、美联储(Fed)国际金融部门前负责人特德?杜鲁门(Ted Truman)表示,这些言论如果成为特朗普竞选运动的重要纲领,它们或将影响金融市场。“最好的办法是什么都不说,”他说。

美国历届总统通常避免对美元发表评论,或者以不同形式重复鲁宾于1995年首创的说法——“强势美元符合美国的利益”。主要原因在于,有观点认为,试图通过言语力挺或打压美元汇率,以实现汇率政策优化微调,其结果只会适得其反。

布朗兄弟哈里曼银行(Brown Brothers Harriman)全球外汇策略主管马克?钱德勒(Marc Chandler)表示,在克林顿(Clinton)、小布什(Bush)以及奥巴马(Obama)当政期间,美国行政分支的汇率战略一直基本保持连贯。“特朗普可能改变这种状况,”他补充道。

上周五,在被问及如何看待特朗普关于美元的言论时,美国财长杰克?卢(Jack Lew)重申了自己的一贯看法——强势美元是美国相对实力的反映。“如果其他国家走向竞争性贬值,将导致连锁反应,”他在华盛顿的一场早餐会上说,“要不了多久,我们就会陷入为从越来越小的全球‘蛋糕’中抢夺更大份额的争斗。”

然而,在现实中,当美元升值一直在损害美国出口商时,美国官员支持强势美元的言论往往伴随着私营部门的担忧。近年来,面对美元升值对美联储更迅速加息的阻碍作用,情况无疑就是如此。

2015年3月,美联储主席珍妮特?耶伦(Janet Yellen)表示,美元汇率水平部分地反映了美国的经济实力,但她补充称,它是出口负增长的原因之一,她预计出口状况将对经济产生“明显拖累”。今年3月,美联储以全球经济及金融风险(核心原因是美元大幅升值)为由,调低了预测的加息力度。

美联储还被指在2008年金融危机爆发后引发了一场国际货币战,当时它利用量化宽松政策增加货币供应,实际上导致了美元贬值。

对特朗普关于美元的看法,有些经济学家态度较为温和。经济学家、《美元陷阱》(The Dollar Trap)一书作者埃斯瓦尔?普拉萨德(Eswar Prasad)说:“特朗普对强势美元政策的驳斥,无疑坚持了经济现实主义,摒弃了空洞的言辞。”《美元陷阱》讲述了美元崛起成为全球储备货币的历程。

“他将美元的坚挺程度与美国经济实力脱钩的标志性举动,或许能够起到一个有益作用,即帮助未来的总统候选人及财长摆脱不得不力挺强势美元的惯例。”

译者/隆祥

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