英镑贬值又遇信誉评级下降

The downgrade of British sovereign debt by Moody’s did not spook the markets. But investors were already worried
穆迪公司下调了英国主权债务评级,没有引起市场震荡,但却使投资者忧心忡忡
“We will safeguard Britain’s credit rating with a credible plan to eliminate the bulk of the structural deficit over a parliament,” read the 2010 Conservative manifesto. Well, so much for that. The decision by Moody’s, one of the three big rating agencies, to downgrade Britain from Aaa to Aa1 on February 22nd was a colossal embarrassment. Moody’s now ranks Britain’s credit lower than that of Luxembourgor the Isle of Man.
2010年,保守党宣言称,“我们将通过议会出台一项减免大量结构性赤字的计划来捍卫英国的信誉评级。”但那也只是说说而已。2月22日,三大信誉评级机构之一的穆迪公司,决定把英国债务评级从Aaa下调至Aa1。这项决定让保守党十分尴尬。目前,穆迪公司将英国的信誉评级排在卢森堡和英国的属地曼岛之后。
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Will the downgrade harm the economy? In the past countries with lower credit ratings have had to pay higher borrowing costs. But neither America, which was downgraded in 2011, or France, which suffered a similar fate last year, have suffered much.

这样的信誉评级的下降会对经济造成危害吗? 在过去的几个世纪里,一个拥有低信誉评级的国家只不过意味着他需要支付更高的借贷成本。但不论是于2011年遭遇信誉降级的美国还是去年遭受同样命运的法国,却都蒙受了巨大的损失。
It is hard to spot an immediate impact in Britain, either. Investors had expected the ratings agencies to act after last year’s autumn statement revealed that the government was struggling to reduce its deficit on schedule. The two other big ratings agencies—Fitch and Standard and Poor’s—both have Britain on “negative watch”.Sterling dropped to a 32-month low against the dollar and reached its weakest level against the euro since October 2011, but gilt yields actually fell.
但是要立刻察觉出信誉评级的下调对英国经济产生的影响是很难的。在去年秋天的一份报告中指出英国政府正在按计划努力减少赤字后,投资者都盼望着信誉评级机构对英国会有所改观。但是另两家信誉评级机构惠誉和标准普尔都将英国评级下调至负面展望。英镑兑美元的汇率连续32个月走低,英镑兑欧元的汇率更是在2011年10月跌至历史最低点。国债的收益也有所下跌。
Pull back a little, though, and the picture is more worrying. So far the pound is the weakest major currency of 2013. It has fallen even farther than the yen, where the decline had the explicit backing of the Japanese prime minister. In the past few weeks gilt yields have been rising relative to the cost of borrowing of the German government, too.
但是,反观过去这段时间的走势,其形势更令人担忧。时下,英镑已算的上是2013年最疲软的货币之一。英镑比日元贬值的更多,但是日元的贬值状况已经得到日本首相详细规划以期有所改善。在过去的几周里,国债的收益有所提升,这与德国的借贷成本的下调不无关系。
Several things are making investors wary of British assets. As Moody’s noted in justifying its downgrade, the performance of the economy has been poor; figures released on February 27th showed that GDP had shrunk by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and is still 3% smaller than it was in the first quarter of 2008. Growth forecasts for the next few years were lowered in the autumn statement.
一些事的存在不得不让投资者对英国资产的态度变得谨慎。就在穆迪声明证实英国信誉降级之时,英国经济状况就已经不佳了。2月27日公布的数据显示,2012年第四季度中,英国的GDP缩水了0.3%,相比于2008年第一季度的GDP值还少3%。在去年秋天的一份报告中称,对于未来几年的经济走势并不看好。
A fall in the pound makes Britain’s goods cheaper for foreign buyers—a welcome tonic for exporters at a time when the current-account deficit is running at 3.5% of GDP. But sterling’s big decline in 2008 and 2009 did not cut the trade deficit. The downside of a weaker pound is that the price of imported goods, such as oil, will increase, further squeezing consumer spending. “It’s not just that our gilt outlook is weak; it’s not just that we’ve lost our triple-A credit rating; it’s that we’re really addicted to imported goods” says Jim Leaviss of M and G, a fund-management group. “A current-account deficit this large has historically preceded a sterling crisis.”
英镑贬值对于外国买家来说是件好事,因为商品的价格更加便宜。而一向受欢迎,创造喜人收益的出口商,此时往来账户的赤字却占据GDP的3.5%。但是2008年和2009年的英镑贬值并未减少贸易赤字。疲软的英镑造成了一种下降的趋势,这种趋势使得类似石油这样的进口商品的价格增加,并使消费者的手头更加拮据。“之所以造成这样状况,不是因为我们国债的前景一片灰暗的,也不是因为我们已经失去了3A的信誉评级,而是因为我们的确是习惯于进口商品”,一位来自MG投资管理公司的吉姆·里维斯(Jim Leaviss)说道,“如此之大的贸易逆差使得它历史性的领跑了这场英镑危机。”
Higher import prices are also likely to ensure that the Bank of England continues to overshoot its 2% inflation target, as it has for the last 38 months. Indeed, the bank recently predicted inflation would stay above the target for the next two years. Despite this, three members of the nine-strong monetary-policy committee—including the governor, Sir Mervyn King—recently voted for more quantitative easing.
更高的进口价格也极可能把英格兰银行继续送上超出它所定的2%通货膨胀的目标的不归路上,因为这已经持续38个月。事实上,英格兰银行最近也预测到,在接下的两年里,这样的通货膨胀都将会超出预定目标。尽管有此预测,但在九强货币政策委员会中,包括英国央行行长默文·金恩(Mervyn King)在内的三名成员在,最近都投票支持实行更大规模的量化宽松政策。
With ten-year gilts yielding just 2%, domestic investors seem likely to lose money in real terms. Foreign investors might not be too keen to buy such a low-yielding asset in a depreciating currency. If Britain’s borrowing costs rise sharply, the government’s deficit-cutting task will be made even harder. However, this yield rise could be offset if the Bank buys more gilts in a further extension of QE.
10年期的国债收益仅为2%,实际上,国内投资国债的人极有可能在赔钱。在货币贬值的情况下,外国投资者可能不太会热衷于购买这样的低收益资产。假如英国的借贷成本激增,政府想要完成减赤的计划就会更加困难。但是,假如英格兰银行在更大规模的量化宽松政策中,购买更多的国债,所增加的收益又会被抵消。
The good news is that the foreign exchange and government bond markets are an ugly contest these days, in which few options look attractive. The indecisive Italian election result reawakened investor fears about the stability of the euro zone, and may make gilts appear relatively safe, as was the case in 2011 and 2012. Both Japan and America could loosen their monetary policy further, an approach that may put pressure on their currencies. Britain is not the only country with problems.
这些天,外汇和政府债券市场进行了一场胶着的竞争,但双方都并未成为投资者看好的投资对象,这算的是一个好消息。但悬而未决的意大利大选却再度唤起投资者对欧元区经济稳定的担忧。但这样的状况对国债而言,还是相对安全的,这样的结论在2011年和2012年都得到了印证。日本和美国都可能会进一步放宽他们的货币政策,并以此来作为对货币进行施压的一种方法。由此可见,英国并不是被麻烦缠身的唯一一个,他并不孤单。


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