【英语中国】朱光耀暗示中国决意忍受短痛来推进改革 Chinese Finance Official: Please Excuse Us While We Renovate Our Economy

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2014-4-14 10:26

小艾摘要: The world's second-largest economy is getting a long overdue makeover. That means slower growth. Get over it, said one of China's top finance officials. 'Our top priority is restructuring,' China's vi ...
Chinese Finance Official: Please Excuse Us While We Renovate Our Economy
The world's second-largest economy is getting a long overdue makeover. That means slower growth.

Get over it, said one of China's top finance officials.

'Our top priority is restructuring,' China's vice finance minister, Zhu Guangyao, said in an interview Saturday on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank's spring meetings in Washington. 'We face the challenge of an economic slowdown. But very frankly I think the outside is more concerned than [we are] domestically with this slowdown.'

Mr. Zhu emphasized job creation, cleaning up the environment and passing legislation to give more budgetary freedom to China's heavily indebted provinces as the government's top objectives.

Mr. Zhu's comments echoed remarks Thursday by Premier Li Keqiang at an annual gathering of business and political leaders in China. Mr. Li told the gathering that Beijing would not resort to new stimulus measures just to meet its target of 7.5% growth, and that it was willing to accept some fluctuation as growth slows.

Dimming prospects for immediate stimulus may disappoint investors who bet recently that Beijing would be forced to step in to arrest a sharper-than-expected slowdown. Beijing is due Wednesday to report growth figures for the first three months of this year, and many economists have been trimming their forecasts.

But the message that China is determined to endure short-term economic pain to press ahead with structural reforms is likely to encourage economists who say China needs to move quickly to wean its economy from runaway credit, over-investment and excess capacity.

'The risk is not slower growth,' said Markus Rodlauer, deputy director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department and head of the fund's China mission. 'The risk is that growth is not allowed to slow.'

Jobs appear to be China's new benchmark. Mr. Zhu stressed the challenge of meeting the government's goal of creating 10 million new jobs this year.

China is also concerned, Mr. Zhu said, about low inflation and falling producer prices. China's producer-price index fell 2.3% year-over-year in March, after a 2% fall in February, marking the 25th consecutive month of declines.

Beijing is working to clean up an explosion of unregulated credit issued outside the banking system, Mr. Zhu said, including the 17.9 trillion yuan in debts owed by local governments as of last June, more than a third of which must be repaid this year.

Analysts worry that slowing growth and falling prices could touch off a wave of bankruptcies and even a financial crisis. Booming credit growth has swollen debt in China to roughly double GDP.

But underpinning the explosion in credit has been a widespread assumption among creditors that Beijing is unwilling to allow widespread defaults and that loans thus bear virtually no risk -- what bankers know as 'moral hazard.'

Sidestepping a question on whether Beijing would allow large borrowers or provincial governments to default, Mr. Zhu summed up Beijing's conundrum: 'We must pay close attention to the balance between moral hazard when we take action to make this risk abate, and at the same time we must avoid causing financial systematic turbulence.'

Mr. Zhu said local governments had sufficient assets to avoid default. But he said they could no longer be allowed to keep borrowing through affiliated financing vehicles. Rather, they needed to be given the authority to borrow directly, an authority that required new legislation be passed by China's National People's Congress. 'We must close the back door to open the front door,' he said.

Mr. Zhu also emphasized the need to reduce China's dire environmental pollution. Channeling investment into green industries and improved environmental standards, he said, could also help achieve its goal of promoting domestic consumption and the service sector. 'Environment-led investment or green-led investment must be absolutely emphasized,' he said.

Mr. Zhu dismissed concerns at the IMF and the U.S. Treasury Department about the yuan's recent weakness and its potential impact on trade following a move by the People's Bank of China to widen the range it allows China's currency to fluctuate. Mr. Zhu said the decline was part of an effort to liberalize China's capital markets and let the market determine the currency's value.

But Mr. Zhu said the U.S. Federal Reserve needed to be more mindful of the impact of its policies on the rest of the world. The Fed's plans to end its bond-buying program -- intended to inject credit into the economy -- stands to affect China and the rest of the world, he said. 'That's why we hope the Federal Reserve will take into consideration the severe impact,' he said.

中国这个全球第二大经济体正在进行一场姗姗来迟的改革。但这意味着经济增长会放缓。

而一位中国财政高官称,要克服这个难关。

中国财政部副部长朱光耀周六在国际货币基金组织(International Monetary Fund, 简称IMF)和世界银行(World Bank)于华盛顿召开的春季会议的间隙接受采访时说,中国的首要任务是经济结构调整。他说:我们面临经济放缓的挑战,但非常坦率地说,我认为与国内相比,国外对中国经济放缓的担忧更大。

朱光耀强调,政府的首要任务是创造就业、清理环境以及制定相关法律给予债台高筑的地方政府更多预算自由。

朱光耀的言论呼应了中国国务院总理李克强上周四在博鳌亚洲论坛上发表的讲话。李克强当时表示,今年中国经济增长预期目标是7.5%左右,既然是左右,就表明有一个上下幅度,政府不会为经济一时波动而采取短期的强刺激措施。

中国短期内采取刺激政策的可能性下降,可能令那些最近押注政府将被迫采取措施以防经济放缓程度大于预期的投资者感到失望。中国政府定于周三公布今年第一季度经济增长数据,此前许多经济学家都下调了相关预期。

但这种中国决意忍受短期的经济痛楚来推进结构改革的信号可能令一些经济学家受到鼓舞,这些经济学家认为,中国需要迅速采取行动来让经济摆脱信贷过度膨胀、过度投资和产能过剩局面。

IMF亚太区副主管兼中国工作组负责人罗德劳尔(Markus Rodlauer)说,风险并不在于经济增长放缓,而是在于经济增长不被允许放缓。

就业似乎成为中国的一个新标准。朱光耀强调,政府在完成今年创造1,000万个新就业岗位的目标方面面临挑战。

朱光耀称,中国也担心低通胀和生产者价格下跌的情况。中国3月份生产者价格指数(PPI)较上年同期下降2.3%,连续第25个月出现下降。2月份PPI曾下降2%。

朱光耀表示,针对银行系统外发行的、未受监管的信贷规模大增的问题,中央政府正在着手清理。他称,这些信贷包括了截至去年6月规模达人民币17.9万亿元的地方政府债务,其中超过三分之一的债务必须在今年偿还。

分析师们担心,增速放缓以及物价下跌或引发一轮企业破产潮,甚至导致金融危机的出现。信贷迅猛增长已经使得中国债务规模差不多达到其国内生产总值(GDP)的两倍。

但外界广泛存在的一种观点认为,中央政府不会让违约事件大规模出现,因此上述这些债务实际上是没有风险的。支持信贷爆炸式增长的正是这种观点,即银行家们眼中的“道德风险”。

不过朱光耀回避了有关中央政府是否允许大型借贷人或省级政府违约的问题,他只是概括了中央政府的观点。他说,政府必须密切注意保持平衡,在采取措施减弱道德风险的同时,也必须避免引发金融系统动荡。

朱光耀称,地方政府拥有足够资产可以避免违约。但是他也表示,不应该允许地方政府继续通过附属的金融平台进行借贷;需要给予地方政府直接借贷的授权,而这种授权需要全国人大通过新的立法。他称,必须关上后门,打开大门。

朱光耀还强调需要减少环境污染。他说,将投资引向绿色工业,并改善环境标准,这些措施也可以帮助实现提振国内消费和服务业的目标。朱光耀说,必须切实强调以环境为导向的投资,或是绿色产业为导向的投资。

朱光耀未理会IMF和美国财政部对于近期人民币走低,及其对贸易潜在影响的担忧。在中国央行扩大人民币每日波动区间之后,人民币开始走低。朱光耀称,人民币下跌是放松中国资本市场、让市场决定人民币汇率相关努力的一部分。

不过朱光耀还称,美国联邦储备委员会(Federal Reserve, 简称:美联储)需要更加留意其政策对世界其他国家的影响。他说,美联储结束购债措施的计划将会对中国和世界其他国家构成影响。美联储的购债措施旨在向美国经济注入信贷。朱光耀说,正因如此,中国才希望美联储能够考虑到其政策带来的重大影响。

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