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我们面临的不是通胀,而是通缩!(2)   

2009-07-19 09:58:36|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Rather, it’s more like a grand version of what the Fed does every Christmas season. The Fed always puts more currency into circulation during this prime shopping period because people demand it, and then withdraws the “excess” currency in January.

我们可以将这种情况,看作是联储圣诞节政策的宏观版。每年圣诞是购物的黄金时期,由于人们购买需求旺盛,联储相应地供给更多的货币。到了一月份再收回这些超额的货币。

True inflation hawks worry about that last step. (Did someone say, “Bah, humbug”?) Will the Fed really withdraw all those reserves fast enough as the financial storm abates? If not, we could indeed experience inflation. Although the Fed is not infallible, I’d make three important points:

戚戚于通胀的鹰派们,对联储是否真的会收回这些过量货币心存疑虑。(他们大概会说“切,一帮骗子。”)当金融风暴散去时,联储真的能雷厉风行地收回它们吗?如若不能,那恐怕我们就不得不忍受通胀了。联储当然不是万能的,对此我有如下三点想法:

The possibilities for error are two-sided. Yes, the Fed might err by withdrawing bank reserves too slowly, thereby leading to higher inflation. But it also might err by withdrawing reserves too quickly, thereby stunting the recovery and leading to deflation. I fail to see why advocates of price stability should worry about one sort of error but not the other.

1)应当全面地看问题。没错,联储当然可能因为行动迟缓,没能及时收回储备金,进而导致通胀;但这只是其中一种可能。如果矫枉过正,过于迅速的收回,则会有延缓经济复苏和通缩的风险。我就奇怪了,那些叫嚣着要稳定物价的人为什么看不到这一点呢?

The Fed is well aware of the exit problem. It is planning for it, is competent enough to carry out its responsibilities and has committed itself to an inflation target of just under 2 percent.Of course, none of that assures us that the Fed will hit the bull’s-eye. It might miss and produce, say, inflation of 3 percent or 4 percent at the end of the crisis — but not 8 or 10 percent.

2)对撤出过量货币的问题,联储自有安排,有着自己的计划。联储完全胜任自身的责任,其目标是将通胀维持在少于2%的低水平。尽管以上种种都不能保证问题的完满解决,但通胀也不会离谱地飙至8%到10%的程度。到危机过去时,就算联储没能达到目标,通胀也将稳定在3%或4%的水平。

The Fed will start the exit process when the economy is still below full employment and inflation is below target. So some modest rise in inflation will be welcome. The Fed won’t have to clamp down hard.

3)联储撤回货币的时机,将会选择在经济未达充分就业、且通胀低于目标值的时候。因此,这时通胀率的温和上涨甚至是有利的,没有大加打压的必要。

SKEPTICAL? Then let’s see what the bond market vigilantes really think.

如果还有人半信半疑,那我们不妨来听听债券市场监督专员们怎么说。

The market’s implied forecast of future inflation is indicated by the difference between the nominal interest rates on regular Treasury debt and the corresponding real interest rates on Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or TIPS. These estimates change daily. But on Friday, the five-year expected inflation rate was about 1.6 percent and the 10-year expected rate was about 1.9 percent. Notice that the latter matches the Fed’s inflation target. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

不言而喻,市场对通胀率的预期,由国债的名义收益率和通货膨胀保值债券(Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities,TIPs)的实际收益率之差来衡量。这个预期每天都有波动。周五时,对五年期和十年期的预期通胀率,分别为1.6%与1.9%。注意1.9%,正与联储的通胀目标值相符,这并不是一个简单的巧合。

But if the inflation outlook is so benign, why have Treasury borrowing rates skyrocketed in the last few months? Is it because markets fear that the Fed will lose control of inflation? I think not. Rising Treasury rates are mainly a return to normalcy.

看起来的确形势尚佳,但是,为什么过去几个月里,财政部贷款利率却一路猛涨呢?是由于市场对联储控制通胀能力的担忧吗?我看不见得。这是一种经济转好的迹象。

In January, the markets were expecting about zero inflation over the coming five years, and only about 0.6 percent average inflation over the next decade. The difference between then and now is that markets were in a panicky state in January, braced for financial Armageddon; they have since calmed down.

根据一月份的市场预期,未来五年内将出现零通胀,而未来十年内则会保持在平均0.6%的水平。那时的市场人心惶惶,看到的都是金融海啸,绝世天劫。而现在人们的情绪较之那时则理智多了。

My conclusion? The markets’ extraordinarily low expected inflation in January was both aberrant and worrisome — not today’s. As long as expected inflation doesn’t rise much further, you should find something else to worry about. Unfortunately, choices abound.

我的结论?较之今天,市场利率一月份令人心焦的狂泻绝非常态。只要预期通胀率保持稳定,那就大可心安了。糟糕的是,其他需要操心的事还多得很呢。

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