【英语中国】中国的政策目标存在冲突

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2013-11-7 11:01

小艾摘要: The conflicting internal tensions in Chinese economic policy were brought to the fore in a couple of Wall Street Journal reports this week. On the one hand, China's Premier, Li Keqiang said the econom ...
The conflicting internal tensions in Chinese economic policy were brought to the fore in a couple of Wall Street Journal reports this week.

On the one hand, China's Premier, Li Keqiang said the economy needs to grow at 7.2% to keep unemployment stable. On the other, the head of China's central bank called for faster and more comprehensive banking reform.

Unfortunately, these are to a significant degree mutually exclusive ambitions.

The Chinese economy is dependent on massive amounts of investment. Chinese infrastructure spending grew by nearly 30% in the first nine months of the year, while overall investment expanded by more than 20%. Indeed, domestic investment makes up around 54% of Chinese GDP growth compared with only around 45% for consumption. By contrast, consumption represents at least 60% of economic output in most other regional economies and well over 70% is typical of developed countries.

This devotion to growing domestic industrial capacity has been sustained by a huge borrowing binge--so far this year lending growth has outstripped last year's rate. Yet it has produced less economic growth.

China's economy is expected to expand 7.6% this year following 7.7% last.

Worse still, the credit expansion has raised questions about the banking sector's underlying stability. Anecdotal reports of vast swathes of empty property, politicians' glamour projects, poorly built or pointless infrastructure suggest significant amounts of misallocated capital and thus plenty of bad debts being stored up on banks' balance sheets.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, was reported to have rebuked senior government officials last year for failing to restructure the country's financial sector and for not doing enough to shift the economy away from investment and towards consumption.

Unfortunately, however good Mr. Zhou's intentions, the practical matter of rebalancing the Chinese economy will be hard.

Chinese economic growth is likely to trend down anyway, but any shift away from credit-driven investment to consumption will merely accelerate the process, according to Michael Pettis, a professor at Peking University.

Perhaps alarmingly for Mr. Li and his senior cadre, Mr. Pettis has argued that Chinese growth would more likely dip closer to 3% towards the end of the decade.

Plenty of China bears have been forecasting a bust in the Chinese property market and a financial crisis for years now. And China has continued to buck the pessimism. Whether it continues to do so depends on how compatible Mr. Li and Mr. Zhou manage to make their seemingly opposing goals.

《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)本周的一连串报道凸显出了中国政府内部在经济政策问题上的分歧。

一方面,中国国务院总理李克强表示,保就业需要7.2%的经济增长。而另一方面,中国央行行长呼吁实施更快、更全面的银行业改革。

Getty Images中国国务院总理李克强但不幸的是,这两个宏伟的目标很大程度上是相互排斥的。

中国经济目前仍依赖于大规模的投资。今年前九个月,中国的基础设施支出增长了近30%,总体投资增加逾20%。事实上,国内投资在中国国内生产总值(GDP)中的占比高达约54%,而消费占比仅为45%。相比之下,在多数其他亚洲经济体中,消费在经济产值中的占比至少为60%,而在发达国家,这个数字一般远高于70%。

中国致力于扩大工业产能的努力一直依靠庞大的信贷来维持。今年迄今,国内的信贷增速已超出了去年全年的水平,但对经济的拉动作用却不及过去。

继去年增长7.7%之后,今年中国经济料将增长7.6%。

更糟糕的是,信贷扩张已经引发了外界对银行业基本稳定性的担忧。有关中国存在大量空置地产、地方政府建设铺张浪费项目、一些基建项目建筑品质低劣或毫无建造意义的报道屡见不鲜,表明资本配置不当情况严重,导致银行资产负债表上囤积着大量的坏账。

据《华尔街日报》报道,中国央行行长周小川去年曾指责政府高层未能推进一些旨在重塑金融领域的计划,并认为在推动经济降低对投资的依赖、更多地由消费驱动方面,政府也做得不够。

遗憾的是,虽然周小川的本意是好的,但要实现中国经济再平衡,实际操作起来难度很大。

北京大学的教授佩蒂斯(Michael Pettis)说,无论如何,中国经济的增速都会放缓,而降低经济对信贷驱动型投资的依赖、更多地依靠消费拉动,势必会加速这一过程。

佩蒂斯认为,在2020年前,中国经济增长率将更有可能朝着3%回落。这一预测也许值得李克强和他的同僚们警惕。

多年来,许多中国空头一直预测中国楼市泡沫将破灭并将爆发金融危机。然而中国的表现一再令他们的预期落空。这种情况能否持续下去,就要看李克强和周小川如何协作,实现他们看似相互抵触的目标了。

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