爱思英语编者按:韩国是亚洲第四大经济体,韩国中央银行昨天以油价波动与欧债疑虑未散为由,将今年韩国经济成长预测从3.7%下调至3.5%,同时也调降今年通胀预测。韩国央行表示,今年上半年经济成长率将达1%左右,可望摆脱去年第四季经济衰退0.3%的阴霾;下半年经济活动将温和上涨,经济成长约在1.5%至1%区间。韩国央行并预测,明年经济成长可望增速至4.2%,且通胀降至3.1%。今年剔除石油与农产品外的核心投资可能攀至2.6%,并在明年续攀至3.2%。

Asian economic rankings

亚洲经济排名

A game of leapfrog

一场你追我赶的竞赛

South Korea may soon be richer than Japan.

南韩可能很快就会比日本富有。

THE Tokyo Sky Tree, a broadcasting and observation tower that will officially open on May 22nd, is 634 metres high (2,080 feet), making it the tallest building in Asia. Is this Japan’s last bid to stay on top? For years, Japan was Asia’s richest and most powerful economy. It was the first Asian economy to industrialise, and the emerging Asian tigers—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and later China—merely followed in its tracks. Now, however, Japan is steadily being overtaken.

作为广播传送和观光塔的东京天空树将于4月22日正式开放,634米(2,080英尺)的高度使它成为亚洲最高的建筑。这是日本试图保持领先的最后一搏么?很多年来,日本曾拥有亚洲最富有和最强劲的经济。它是第一个工业化的亚洲经济体,新兴的亚洲四小龙——香港,新加坡,南韩,台湾和最近的中国大陆——仅仅是追随它的足迹。不过,现在日本正在被稳步的超越。

China’s economy is now bigger than Japan’s, but less noticed is the fact that Asia’s so-called newly industrialised economies (NIEs) are, one by one, becoming richer than Japan. Most economists reckon that the best way to compare living standards is to take GDP per person measured at purchasing-power parity (PPP), which adjusts for differences in the cost of living in each country. On this gauge, Japan was overtaken by Singapore in 1993, by Hong Kong in 1997 and by Taiwan in 2010. But the most humbling re-ranking will be when South Korea becomes richer than Japan. The latest forecasts from the IMF suggest that this could happen within five years (see chart). That would be a remarkable turnabout. In 1980 South Korea’s GDP per person was barely a quarter the level of Japan’s.

现在中国的经济规模大于日本,但是很少被提及的事实是亚洲所谓的新型工业化经济体(NIEs)一个接一个的变得比日本富有。大部分经济学家认为最好的比较生活水平的方法是用人均GDP测算平价购买力(PPP),其可以调整生活在每一个国家所需的不同费用。按照这个标准,日本在1993年被新加坡超越,1997年被香港超越,并在2010年被台湾超越。不过最令人羞愧的重新排名将会是南韩变得比日本富有。来自IMF的最新预测暗示这将在五年内发生(参见图表)。那将会是一个标志性的转变。在1980年南韩的人均GDP仅仅只有日本四分之一的水平。

Calculated at market exchange rates, Japan’s per-head income is still higher than all the NIEs except Singapore. Yet Japan’s high prices, especially for housing and food, bring down the country’s true standard of living. PPPs are tricky to calculate and economists come up with different numbers, so the IMF’s figures are contentious. Some other yardsticks, such as car-ownership rates, still suggest that Japan has a comfortable lead over South Korea. But the trend is clear: the tigers are outpacing their teacher.

按市场汇率计算,日本是人均收入仍然比除新加坡以外的所有新兴工业化经济体高。不过日本的高物价,尤其是房价和食物支出,拉低了日本的真实生活水平。由于平价购买力的难以计算和经济学家意见的不同,IMF的数字是有争议的。另外一些指标,例如私家车拥有率,仍然表明日本仍然大幅领先南韩。不过趋势是明显的:学生们正在超越他们的老师。