【英语中国】短线观点:赌博与中国外汇储备

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2013-12-6 09:05

小艾摘要: Foreign exchange trading is always akin to gambling. But, in China, gambling may be a way of trading foreign exchange: one way to get around the country’s currency controls is to take a trip to the c ...
Foreign exchange trading is always akin to gambling. But, in China, gambling may be a way of trading foreign exchange: one way to get around the country’s currency controls is to take a trip to the casinos of Macau.

Macau is not just about currency conversion: it has made some efforts to diversify into Vegas-style shows. But, when the chips are down, it is only the gaming tables that investors are interested in, in the hope of insights into China’s flows of money.

China’s currency is rapidly becoming globally important. Figures yesterday showed the renminbi again passing the euro as the second currency for trade finance, although the dollar still dominates with 80 per cent of lending. China is also on a slow boat to fully liberalised exchange rates.

Macau’s gambling moves closely with the size of China’s $3.6tn of currency reserves. Both can be seen as ways to recycle foreign investment, with the central bank mopping up inflows and buying dollars, while individuals take excess domestic liquidity and gamble it. How much of the gambling is a pleasurable side-effect of the spare cash in the economy, and how much is a deliberate effort to acquire hard currency is unknown. But it does not really matter: the scale of gambling offers a guide to moves in FX reserves.

In summer last year, both were frozen as investors fell out of love with China. No more. The latest Chinese figures show reserves jumped 3.1 per cent in September, the fastest since the spring of 2011 – the last time investors were certain the world economy was finally recovering from crisis. Macau suggests money is still flowing into China, as year-on-year gambling revenues jumped more than a fifth in November.

It is impossible to say what will happen to the renminbi if and when it is liberalised. But, right now, investors’ desire for risk would be pushing the currency up much more if it were not for growing reserves, and the gamblers in Macau.

外汇交易始终和赌博类似。但在中国,赌博可能就是外汇交易的一种方式:绕过该国外汇管制的一种方式就是去澳门的赌场。

澳门不仅可以兑换货币,还做过一些多元化的努力,提供维加斯风格的表演。然而,当赌注已下,投资者就只对赌桌感兴趣——他们希望能够窥得中国资金流的动向。

中国的人民币正迅速成为具有全球重要性的货币。昨天的数据显示,人民币再次超越欧元,成为第二大贸易融资货币,尽管美元依然以80%的比例占据贸易融资的主导地位。中国也在逐步实现汇率的全面自由化。

澳门的赌博业紧跟中国3.6万亿美元外汇储备的步伐。二者都可以看作是外国投资的循环方式,中国央行吸收流入的外汇,购入美元,而个人则需要消化过多的国内流动性并赌上一把。对于经济中的闲置资金而言,赌博活动中有多少是令人愉快的副产品,有多少是为了获取硬通货而刻意为之,无人知晓。但这其实并不重要:了解赌博的规模,有助于管窥外汇储备的变动。

去年夏天,二者都被冻结,原因是投资者不再青睐中国。中国最新数据显示,9月份外汇储备激增3.1%,为2011年春(投资者最近一次确信世界经济终于开始从危机中复苏的时间)以来最快增速。而澳门告诉我们,资金依然在流入中国,因为11月赌博收入同比增长五分之一以上。

如果人民币有朝一日实现自由化,很难说会发生什么情况。但现在,如果没有不断增长的外汇储备以及澳门的赌徒,投资者冒险的欲望将把人民币汇率大幅推高。

译者/王慧玲

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