爱思英语编者按:在雷曼兄弟倒塌后的那3个月中,世界经济风雨飘摇,投资者争相避难,美元对一揽子其他被广泛使用的货币上升了5%;在过去的3个月中,美元窜升了11%;在过去的一年中,上涨了22%——这是美元几十年来最快的一次上涨。

The strong dollar
强势美元

Mismatch point
踏错了点

The rise of the dollar will punish borrowers in emerging markets
美元的上涨将惩罚新兴市场的借款人

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IN THE three months following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, as the world economy crumbled and investors scrambled for shelter, the dollar rose by 5% against a basket of other widely used currencies. In the past three months it has jumped by 11%; over the past year, by 22%—its fastest ascent in decades. The dollar is not yet in uncharted waters: one euro was worth one dollar in the early 2000s, for example. Its rise will help exporters in less vibrant parts of the world, notably Europe. But moves of this magnitude usually catch someone out, and the likeliest candidates this time are in emerging markets.

在雷曼兄弟倒塌后的那3个月中,世界经济风雨飘摇,投资者争相避难,美元对一揽子其他被广泛使用的货币上升了5%;在过去的3个月中,美元窜升了11%;在过去的一年中,上涨了22%——这是美元几十年来最快的一次上涨。美元尚未到达未知水域:例如,在21世纪的头几年中,1欧元曾经价值1美元。美元的上涨将有助于以欧洲为代表的世界较不活跃地区的出口商。但是,这种震级的运动通常会伤及一些人,这一次最有可能的候选人在新兴市场。

The principal reasons for the greenback's rapid strengthening are simple to grasp. With Europe and Japan stuck in the doldrums, and China and other emerging markets slowing, America's economy looks relatively strong. The IMF expects it to grow by 3.6% this year. The Federal Reserve has already begun to tighten monetary policy, by stopping its programme of asset purchases, and is now preparing the ground to go further. This week the Fed altered the wording it uses to describe its plans, giving itself room to raise interest rates later this year—the first rise since 2006. With American monetary policy tightening, and other central banks still loosening, investors can make higher returns from dollar-denominated assets. In capital floods, and up the dollar goes.

美元快速走强的主要原因简单易懂。鉴于欧洲和日本身陷低迷,中国和其他新兴市场增长放慢,美国的经济显得相对强劲。 IMF预计,美国今年增长3.6%。美联储早已通过停止资产购买计划的方式,开始收紧货币政策。如今,正在为下一步的行动做准备。本周,美联储改换了用以描述其计划的用词,从而为今年晚些时候的加息——2006年以来的第一次——留出了空间。在美国开始收紧货币政策,而其他央行仍在放松银根的情况下,投资者能够从以美元计价的资产中获得更高的回报。资本涌入,美元走高。

The mechanics of dollar strength may be simple, the effects anything but. American firms that sell abroad are hit: around a quarter of the profits of firms in the S&P 500 are earned in foreign currencies. The greenback's ascent also mutes inflation, complicating the Fed's judgment about when to raise rates.

美元强势的机制或许简单,但是,其影响一点也不简单。产品外销的美国企业会遭到打击:在标普500企业的利润中,大约有四分之一是以外国货币挣得的。美元的上涨还抑制了通胀,让美联储对于加息时间点的判断复杂起来。

But the chance of a shock is highest outside America. Companies around the world, and especially in emerging markets, have been bingeing on dollar-denominated debt, seduced by the lower interest rates on offer compared with local-currency debt. The stock of dollar debts owed by non-financial borrowers outside America has grown by 50% since the financial crisis, according to the Bank for International Settlements. It now stands at $9 trillion. Emerging markets account for half of that amount, up from a third before the crisis. In China alone, dollar-denominated loans have vaulted from around $200 billion in 2008 to more than $1 trillion now.

但是,地震最有可能发生在美国之外。世界各地的企业,尤其是新兴市场的企业,在以美元计价的债务所提供的利率低于以本国货币计价的债务的利率的诱惑之下,一直都在无节制地发行以美元计价的债务。据国际清算银行,美国之外的非金融借款人的美元债务存量,自金融危机以来,已经上升了50%,今为9万亿美元。新兴市场占了其中的一半,比危机前上升了三分之一。仅在中国这一个国家,以美元计价的贷款就已经从2008年的大约2000亿美元,上升至当前的1万多亿美元。

As the dollar rises, this debt becomes more expensive to service in local currency. And as the Fed starts to tighten, the interest rates charged on dollar debts—whether in bond markets or via banks—will rise in tandem. As a result, borrowers are at risk of a double whammy: a strengthening dollar and a rising cost of borrowing and refinancing. That does not necessarily portend a wave of bankruptcies. But it does mean another drag on growth at a time when swathes of the emerging world are already struggling. Brazil and Russia are heading for deep recessions; China's property market, for years the economy's biggest engine of growth, is slowing. Outside the BRICS, in the last quarter of 2014 emerging markets made their smallest contribution to global growth for more than five years.

随着美元上涨,用本国货币偿付这些债务变得更贵了。同时,由于美联储开始收紧银根,美元债务——不管是在债券市场上债务,还是通过银行发行的——的利率将随之而上涨。其结果就是,借款人身处一种双重灾难的风险之中:美元的不断走强以及借款和再融资成本的持续上涨。这并不必然地预示一波破产潮。但是,在这个新兴世界的大部分都在苦苦挣扎的时期,这种风险的确意味着另一种对增长的拖累。巴西和俄罗斯正在走向严重衰退;多年来一直是中国经济最大引擎的房地产市场正在减速。在金砖国家之外,新兴市场在2014年最后一个季度为全球增长的贡献是5年多来的最小的一次。

Tantrum 2.0
美元发飙之2.0版

Optimists make several soothing arguments. First, plenty of corporate borrowers have income as well as liabilities in dollars, meaning that currency mismatches are not a concern. But many of the firms that do have matched debts and revenues are oil or mining firms, which have seen their income in dollars plunge because of falling commodity prices. And that still leaves lots of other firms which are exposed to currency moves. A quarter of China's corporate debts are dollar-denominated; only 9% of companies' earnings are. That the yuan has barely depreciated against the dollar, and that China shows little inclination to let it do so, is a comfort. But the peg is not guaranteed to hold; if corporate borrowers have not bothered to hedge, they will be hard hit.

乐观派提出了几个令人稍感宽心的论据。首先,足够多的企业借款人既有美元负债,也有美元收入。这意味着货币错配不是一个隐患。但是,大多数确实做到了债务与收入相匹配的企业都是石油企业或者炼油企业,它们已经亲眼目睹了它们美元收入因为商品价格跌跌不休而大幅减少的情况。而且,这还没有把那些存在着汇率风险敞口的企业也计算在内。以中国为例。四分之一的企业债是以美元计价的;而在这些企业盈利中,只有9%是以美元计价的。值得安慰的是,人民币几乎没有对美元贬值,而且中国也几乎没有流露出让人民币对美元贬值的倾向。但是,让人民币盯住美元的政策并没有得到保证说一定会保持不变;如果企业借款人没有想办法去对冲风险,他们将遭受重击。

The second argument is that, as much as borrowers in emerging markets may come under pressure to service their debts, emerging-market exporters will benefit from a falling currency. Unfortunately, things are not so neat. Although most emerging-market firms that borrow in foreign currency do so in dollars, exporters may trade not with America, but with other countries whose currencies are also depreciating against the dollar. Thus the strengthening dollar can add to emerging economies' debt burden without helping their exports.

第二种观点认为,在新兴市场中,有多少借款人因为本国货币不断下跌而承受用本国货币偿还债务的压力,就有多少出口商将成为受益者。不幸的是,事情并非这么简单。尽管大多数用外国货币借款的新兴市场企业借的是美元,但是,出口商却有可能不同美国进行贸易,而是同本国货币也在对美元贬值的其他国家的企业做买卖。因此,不断走强美元可能增加新兴经济体的债务负担,在没有给它们的出口带来帮助。

The third source of reassurance is that emerging markets have ample foreign-exchange reserves, which they can use to prop up firms, as Russia and Brazil have done. But countries like South Africa and Turkey have less firepower, and large short-term government debts that will gobble up dollars.

令人感到宽慰的第三个来源是,新兴市场拥有足够的外汇储备,这使得他们可以像俄罗斯和巴西那样,用这些储备来支撑企业。但是,像南非和土耳其这样的国家,不仅弹药比俄罗斯和巴西少,而且还有着大量的会快速吞噬美元的短期政府债务。

Emerging markets have been put under pressure by the Fed before—most recently in 2013, when the announcement that it would start tapering the pace of its quantitative-easing programme caused money to stampede for safety. If the system could weather that storm, optimists say, it can survive this. But firms have continued to load up on dollar-denominated debt since the “taper tantrum”. And emerging markets are weaker now than they were. The surge of the greenback is one more worry in a world already drowning in them.

之前,新兴市场也曾经被美联储置于压力之下。最近的一次是在2013年,当时美联储有关开始放慢量化宽松步伐的声明曾经令资金争相逃往安全之地。乐观者认为,如果这个体系经受住了那次风暴,它就能够在这次的风暴中生存下来。但是,自美联储减少购债以来,新兴市场的企业仍在继续装载美元债务。再者,现在的新兴市场也弱于当时。在这个早已被美元所淹没的世界中,美元的飙涨是一个更加令人担忧的问题。