The world's major economies have spent trillions of dollars in government money to ease a severe global slump. That spending has led to huge budget deficits in some countries, including the United States, but it also is credited with recent signs of economic recovery. In Asia, business people are now asking if governments should stop the spending now.

 

世界主要经济体支出数万亿美元的政府资金来缓解严重的全球萧条。这种支出导致一些国家出现巨额赤字,其中包括美国,不过最近的经济复苏迹象也归功于这种支出。在亚洲,商界人士目前在问,政府现在是否应该停止这种支出。

Recently Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said his government's $600 billion stimulus effort has worked. But he told a gathering of financial industry experts that because of remaining uncertainties in the global economy, China is not about to start turning off the money tap. He spoke through a translator.

 

中国总理温家宝最近说,中国政府的6000亿美元刺激措施已经奏效。不过,他告诉出席一次会议的金融界专家们,由于全球经济仍然存在的不确定性,中国不会马上开始关闭发放资金的阀门。

"We cannot and will not change our policy direction in the absence of proper conditions," he said. "We will continue steady and relatively fast economic growth as our primarily task. We will unswervingly follow the proactive fiscal policy and the moderately easy monetary policy, and implement and continuously enrich and improve the stimulus package."

 

他说:“我们不能也不会在条件不成熟的情况下改变我们的政策。我们将继续把实现稳步和较快的经济增长作为我们的首要任务。我们将毫不动摇地奉行主动积极的财政政策和适当宽松的货币政策,并且实施和持续丰富和改进刺激计划。”

Late last year, governments around the world took bold steps to save their economies from the threat of a deep recession. To stimulate growth, they pumped billions of dollars into their economies and lowered interest rates so that companies and consumers could get cheap credit. In China, banks lent as much as the annual gross domestic product of Canada.

 

去年晚期,世界各国政府采取大胆步骤,从深度衰退的威胁面前拯救经济。为了刺激增长,它们向它们的经济注入了巨额资金,并调低利率,以便商家和消费者能够获得便宜的信贷。在中国,发放的贷款额相当于加拿大一年的国内生产总值。

But as economies start to recover, governments and business people are debating when to stop the stimulus. Getting the timing wrong brings huge consequences.

 

不过,在经济开始复苏之际,各国政府和商界人士正在辩论何时停止刺激措施。时机把握不对,将产生严重后果。

Cutting off the money too soon means fragile growth could falter, especially since demand for Asian exports remain weak.

 

切断资金供应过早意味着脆弱的增长可能萎缩,特别是因为对亚洲出口的需求仍然疲弱。

Zhu Min, group executive vice president of the state-owned Bank of China, says although major economies in Asia such as China, Japan and South Korea, grew in the second quarter, the recovery is still fragile.

 

国有的中国银行常务副行长朱民说,虽然中国、日本和韩国等亚洲主要经济体第二季度有所增长,但是复苏仍然脆弱。

"I would say it's still too early to talk about exits today because the world still needs a fiscal and monetary policy to stabilize," said Zhu.

 

他说:“我要说,今天谈论退场仍然为时过早,因为世界还需要一项财政和货币政策来稳定局势。”

But acting too slowly has huge risks, too. As Zhu notes, one of the biggest is inflation, caused by vast amounts of money being used recklessly and over-stimulating demand. One fear is that prices for investments such as stocks and property could rise rapidly, creating a so-called asset bubble.

 

不过,行动太慢也有巨大风险。正如朱民指出的那样,最大的风险之一是由无节制的动用大笔钱款和过份刺激需求造成的通货膨胀。一种担心是诸如股票和房地产等投资价格可能急剧上涨,造成所谓的资产泡沫。

"But given nine trillion dollars liquidity in the market, given four trillion dollars in U.S. debt, people are obviously concerned about inflationary pressure, people are obviously concerned about the U.S. deficit, people are obviously concerned about U.S. dollar devaluation," said Zhu.

 

朱民说:“考虑到市场上的9万亿美元流动资金,考虑到4万亿美元的美国债券,人们显然对通货膨胀压力感到关切。人们显然对美国的赤字感到关切。人们显然对美元贬值感到关切。”

Stephen Roach, Asia chairman of the U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley, recently said identifying a timetable for an exit is a "Herculean task". But he says lessons should be learned from the U.S. recession of the 1990s, when, he says, the Federal Reserve Bank left interest rates too low, for too long.

 

美国投资银行摩根斯坦利银行的亚洲主席罗奇最近说,确定一份退场时间表是一项重大任务。不过他说,应该从美国1990年代的衰退吸取教训,他说,当时联邦储备银行保持了过低利率而且时间拖得过长。

"And sowed the seeds for future bubbles and then embraced a very incremental exit strategy in trying to normalize the funds rates and actually continued to fuel the credit and property bubbles of recent years," he said.

 

他说:“并且给日后播下了泡沫的种子,然后又为了使贷款利率正常化而采取了过于缓慢的渐进的退场策略,实际上继续给近年来的信贷和房地产泡沫推波助澜。”

Some economists already worry about an asset bubble in China. Beijing's stimulus money has mostly gone to building infrastructure to help cushion the pain of millions of factory jobs lost because of the global slowdown. But a substantial amount found its way into the surging property and stock markets.

Continuing stimulus efforts too long has other risks.

 

持续太久的刺激措施还有其他风险。

After Japan's asset bubble burst in the 1990s, the government spent years trying to stimulate growth. And after new stimulus spending over the past year, Japan faces an enormous public debt, twice its annual gross domestic product, which drags down growth. The Bank of Japan maintains near zero interest rates despite severe deflation or fall in prices.

 

日本的资产泡沫1990年代破裂以后,日本政府用了数年试图刺激增长。在去年新的刺激支出之后,日本面临一笔巨大的公债,相当于其年度国内生产总值的两倍,这拖累了增长。日本银行不顾严重的通货收缩或者价格跌落,一直保持着接近零的利率。

Heizo Takenaka is an economist and Japan's former minister of economic and financial policy. He says government spending is good in the short run, but stimulus money must be targeted for it to work.

 

竹中平藏是一位经济学家,也是前日本前负责经济和财政政策的大臣。他说,短期内的政府开支是好的,但刺激资金必须有目标才能奏效。

"In the case of Asian countries, infrastructure investment is good in the short run and also in the long run. However, just to rescue the damaged companies - this kind of policy is also taken by some countries. This kind of policy to help will require another policy to solve," he said. "So the solution will not come. This [is what] we experienced in the 1990s. So how to get rid of this policy to help to shift in the policy to solve is the most important part. Otherwise we will see a very long lost decade just like what Japan experienced in the 1990s."

 

竹中说:“对亚洲国家来说,向基础设施投资在短期内是好的,而且从长远看也不错。然而,为了挽救陷入困境的公司,一些其它国家也采取了这种政策, 这种救助的政策还需要采取另外的政策才能解决。因此,这不是解决方案。这就是我们在1990年代的经验。因此,如何摆脱这种政策,从而可以帮助政策转向解决最重要的部分,否则,我们将面临日本在20世纪90年代所经历的那样,漫长而失败的10年。”

Takenaka says it is difficult to find an exit and it may take several years. He says governments must have the political will to decide to end the spending.

 

竹中平藏说,很难找到一个出口,这可能需要数年时间。他说,各国政府必须有政治意愿作出停止开支的决定。

Antony Leung, chairman for greater China for the U.S. private equity company Blackstone and formerly Hong Kong's financial secretary, agrees.

 

美国私人股本公司黑石集团大中华区高级执行董事,前香港政府财政司司长梁锦松对此表示赞同。

"It is politically more difficult to withdraw this liquidity from the market. That's why it would be nice to have an exit strategy with clear timetables and indicators," he said. "But my fear is because of the political pressure it may not happen."

Many governments are looking for signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to tighten up its monetary policy, slowly pulling money out of the system.

 

许多国家的政府正在观察是否有迹象表明美联储将开始收紧货币政策,并慢慢地将资金撤出该系统。

Exit strategies are expected to be on the agenda when leaders from the major developed and developing economies of G-20 meet in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh next week.

 

制定退出战略预计将会成为下周在美国匹兹堡召开的主要发达国家和发展中国家经济体的G20会议上的议事日程。