【英语中国】Lex专栏:中国揭开金属融资骗局 Lex_China metals

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2014-6-11 16:13

小艾摘要: A bezzle is the amount of assets built up between an act of embezzlement and later discovery. The gap can wax large, until a falling market exposes asset fakery. “Audits are penetrating and meticulou ...
Lex_China metals
A bezzle is the amount of assets built up between an act of embezzlement and later discovery. The gap can wax large, until a falling market exposes asset fakery. “Audits are penetrating and meticulous,” John Kenneth Galbraith writes in The Great Crash. “Commercial morality is enormously improved. The bezzle shrinks.”

And so to the Dagang wharves of Qingdao, China. Port authorities there have sealed off bonded metals warehouses after allegations that an onshore private trader pledged the same amount of copper and aluminium several times over for loans. The audit to determine whether, and how much, inventory has been double-counted will no doubt be penetrating and meticulous.

But in the short term, pricing will simply be painful and drastic. Spot copper has fallen 4.5 per cent on the London Metal Exchange over a week.

Citic Resources said that it would, as a safeguard, ask courts to secure its aluminium and copper stocks held in Qingdao yesterday: shares in the trading unit of the mighty Citic Group fell almost a tenth.

In fact, only 2 per cent of refined copper imported by China arrives via Qingdao warehouses, Deutsche Bank says. (Shanghai takes four-fifths; Qingdao also handles a fifth to a quarter of aluminium and iron ore.) The shock may be more than a bezzle could have hidden in plain sight. There have been warnings for years that the commodity financing trade – borrow dollars against metal, lend funds on elsewhere for higher yields – risked fraud. Bonded warehouses supposedly made the level of stocks easy to see. But not if lent many times.

Still, economics may resolve the issue. Profits on the metals financing trade were already threatened this year from rising renminbi volatility, Goldman says. Expensive audits will make it costlier still. Commercial morality, in short, will be improved.

“侵占资产收益(bezzle)”,是指从侵占资产到日后被发现期间,积累形成的资产规模。这类收益可能相当可观,直到市场下跌使得侵占行为被曝光。约翰?肯尼思?加尔布雷斯(John Kenneth Galbraith)在《大崩溃》(The Great Crash)一书中写道:“审计手段正变得更加敏锐而一丝不苟。商业道德已经显著改善。侵占资产收益缩水。”

这话也许适用于中国青岛的大港码头。当地的港口管理当局查封了港口内的保税金属仓库,因有指控称,中国一家在岸私营交易商将同样数量的铜和铝重复抵押多次,以获取贷款。毫无疑问,为判断是库存是否、以及多少、被重复计算的审计工作,也将是敏锐而一丝不苟的。

但在短期之内,此举将大大影响到金属定价。在过去的一周当中,伦敦金属交易所(London Metal Exchange)的现货铜价累计下跌了4.5%。

中信资源(Citic Resources)表示,作为一项防范措施,已于昨日就存放在青岛的铝和铜库存向法院申请了查封令。受此影响,这家中信集团(Citic Group)上市子公司的股价下跌了近十分之一。

德意志银行(Deutsche Bank)指出,在中国进口的精炼铜当中,事实上只有2%是通过青岛港的仓库入境的(上海处理了五分之四的精炼铜进口;青岛还处理五分之一至四分之一的铝和铁矿石进口)。这件事让人感到惊讶的,可能不仅仅是侵占资产获益行为竟能在人们眼皮底下发生。多年来一直有警告声音指出,大宗商品贸易融资——以金属作为抵押获得贷款,再将所得资金借给其他领域以获取更高收益——存在欺诈风险。保税仓库本应使库存水平一目了然,但如果库存能被重复抵押,就起不到这样的作用了。

不过简单的经济学或许能够解决这一问题。高盛(Goldman Sachs)指出,人民币汇率波动幅度扩大已经威胁到了今年金属贸易融资的利润水平。昂贵的审计将进一步抬高其成本。简而言之,商业道德将因此而得到改善。

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