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双语:Global Impact
发布时间:2017年09月21日     Economist 译  
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Global Impact: Nowhere to Hide

全球影响:无处躲藏

 

China’s newest export is its financial system, for good and for ill

中国最新的出口产品是其金融体系,有好也有坏

 

Some of the finest infrastructure to be found between Singapore and Dubai lies in the south of Sri Lanka, close to the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. Broad highways connect a deep-sea harbour to a silvery, angular convention centre and, further inland, to an elegant airport terminal with vaulted wooden ceilings. But it does not take long for visitors to see that something is awry. Wild peacocks scampering across the roads easily outnumber the people using the state-of-the-art facilities. The port sees less than a ship per day and the airport, which has been open for three years, no longer offers regular flights. The Sri Lankan government’s debt on the complex runs to at least $1.5 billion, or nearly 2% of the country’s GDP. And almost all of that is owed to Chinese banks.

 

新加坡与迪拜之间最好的一些基础设施位于斯里兰卡南部,濒临白浪滔滔的印度洋。宽阔的高速公路连接着这里的深水港、多角形银色会展中心,以及离海边更远一些的有木质拱顶、风格优雅的机场候机楼。但游客很快就会发现哪里不对劲。穿过马路的野生孔雀明显多过使用这些先进设施的人;港口一天也不一定会停靠一艘船;机场已经启用三年,现在都没有定期航班了。斯里兰卡政府为修建这些基础设施所欠的债务总计至少15亿美元,相当于全国GDP的近2%。其中大部分贷款都来自中资银行。

 

Sri Lankan officials are careful not to blame China for the mess. It was the previous president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who wanted all these facilities built near his home town of Hambantota, even though there was little commercial justification for them. But privately they feel that the lender must also bear responsibility. Were it not for Chinese banks extending vast amounts of credit with minimal safeguards, Sri Lanka would never have been saddled with these debts. Moreover, the Chinese banks charged unusually high interest rates on at least some of the loans. The term “odious lending” comes to mind, says a Sri Lankan government adviser. Partly because of its debt load and big looming repayments, Sri Lanka turned to the International Monetary Fund this year for a bail-out.

 

面对这个烂摊子,斯里兰卡官员小心翼翼地不去归罪于中国。把这些设施修建在靠近汉班托塔是斯里兰卡前总统马欣达·拉贾帕克萨的主意,这个决定没有什么商业理由,只因为汉班托塔是他的家乡。不过私底下,官员们觉得贷款方也必须要负一定责任,如果不是中资银行在还款保障极低的情况下仍放出大量贷款,斯里兰卡根本不会背上沉重的债务。而且,至少有一部分中资银行贷款的利息率高得异乎寻常。一位斯里兰卡政府的顾问说,这不禁让人想到恶债一词。斯里兰卡今年向国际货币基金组织寻求紧急救助,原因之一就是债务负担太重,而且大量债务即将到期。

 

Tracking the ways in which the Chinese financial system affects the global financial system is far from straightforward. Since China is the world’s biggest trading nation, the fate of its economy clearly affects most of the globe. The slowdown in its construction industry has already battered commodity exporters from Mongolia to Brazil. But direct financial connections between China and the rest of the world are much more limited. In China, itself regulations cap the involvement of foreign institutions, and Chinese banks, insurers and brokerages have been remarkably diffident about expanding abroad. Nevertheless, the promise and the problems of China’s financial sector are rippling beyond its borders.

 

要搞清楚中国金融系统如何影响全球金融体系并非易事。中国是世界最大的贸易国,其经济命运自然会影响世界上大部分地区。从蒙古到巴西,大宗商品出口国都已受到中国建筑业发展减速的沉重打击。但中国和其他国家之间的直接金融联系则要少得多。在国内,监管对境外金融机构的参与有种种限制,中资银行、保险公司和证券公司对于境外拓展也显得十分畏首畏尾。然而,中国金融业的承诺和问题,其影响都超越了中国国界。

 

As Sri Lanka can attest, one crucial, if often overlooked, linkage is China’s funding for other emerging markets. At the end of last year, the combined overseas loan book of China’s two leading development lenders, China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China, reached $550 billion, a multiple of the World Bank’s roughly $150 billion. Some of that lending has gone to Chinese firms doing business abroad, but the bulk has been for governments and companies in developing countries.

 

中国与全球金融业之间的一个极端重要而又常常被忽略的联系,就是中国为其他新兴市场提供贷款,斯里兰卡即为一个明证。去年年底,中国两大开发银行——国家开发银行和中国进出口银行——海外贷款总额合计达到5500亿美元,数倍于世界银行的约1500亿美元。有些贷款流向在海外开展业务的中国公司,但大部分都是借给了发展中国家的政府和企业。

 

A great deal?

 

划算吗?

 

It might seem churlish to criticise China for lending to poor countries, but loans are not gifts. The recipients have to repay them, so it is fair to ask whether they are getting a good deal. The evidence is mixed. China’s money has built many useful things, including power stations, roads, dams and railways across Africa, Latin America and South Asia. It has also offered a lifeline to emerging markets suffering capital outflows. Last year, China’s two development banks lent $29 billion to hard-hit Latin American governments, three times as much as in 2014, according to the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think-tank.

 

批评中国向贫穷国家贷款似乎显得有点无礼,但贷款不是赠款,拿了钱是要还的,所以问清楚这钱借得是否划算也正当合理。然而这个问题不好回答。中国的资金帮助非洲、拉丁美洲和南亚诸国修建了发电厂、道路、水坝和铁路等有用设施,也是遭受资本外流之苦的新兴市场的救命稻草。华盛顿智库美洲国家对话组织的数据显示,去年中国的两大开发银行向遭受重创的拉美各国政府贷款290亿美元,是2014年的3倍。

 

But Chinese money is part of what got these countries into trouble in the first place. Its development banks have exported some of the worst excesses of the Chinese financial system: lending out huge dollops of cash with few strings attached, other than that Chinese contractors must do much of the construction. In the case of the airport and port in southern Sri Lanka, officials say there was insufficient analysis of their viability and no competitive bidding. “Would it have been bad to insist on these conditions? These are things we needed to do,” says Harsha de Silva, a critic of the original loans who is now deputy foreign minister. Allegations of corruption and waste have also followed Chinese loans around from Pakistan to Angola, Ecuador and Venezuela.

 

不过,中国的贷款也是这些国家当初陷入困境的原因之一。其开发银行向外输出的是中国金融系统中严重过剩的资金:大笔的现金贷款,除了要求大部分的建设工程由中国企业承包以外,几乎没什么附加条件。以斯里兰卡南部的机场和港口为例,政府官员说这两个项目没有进行充分的可行性分析,也没有竞争性招标。现任斯里兰卡外交部副部长的哈沙德•席尔瓦对当初的贷款持批评态度,当初坚持这些要求难道不对吗?这些本来就是我们该做的。从巴基斯坦到安哥拉,从厄瓜多尔到委内瑞拉,中国贷款所到之处,对当地政府腐败和浪费的指控如影随形。

 

There are some signs that China wants to mend its ways. It has started being tougher on loan recipients, and is hoping to emulate the World Bank’s best practices in running the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a multilateral lender it established last year. Yet the legacy of the past decade is that a number of poor countries are now deeply in debt to China, sometimes with little to show for it. China, to its credit, has so far been accommodating to those in trouble, extending maturities and providing new financing. But if China itself hits the skids and loses more foreign-currency reserves, it will have fewer dollars to spare for others. That would make the outlook for those already in hock to China even grimmer.

 

有迹象表明,中国意欲改变贷款方式。先是对贷款对象国提出了更严格的要求,同时也希望效仿世行的最佳实践来管理亚洲基础设施投资银行——亚投行是中国去年成立一个多边贷款机构。然而过去十年的遗留问题在于,数个向中国借款的穷国已经债台高筑,而且有时拿到贷款却毫无建树。值得赞扬的是,到目前为止,中国对那些深陷泥潭的国家还算义气,延长了债务期限,并提供新资金。但是如果中国遇上麻烦,有更多的外汇储备流失,能给别国用的美元就不多了。果真如此,已经深陷中国债务泥潭的国家的前景就将更加暗淡。

 

Tiny, but not for long

影响虽小,却不会太久

 

For advanced economies, the picture looks very different. Chinese banks have only a minor presence there, so the dangers of a China-led credit crunch are much smaller. At the end of last year overseas loans by Chinese commercial banks totalled just $410 billion, less than half the loan portfolio of Wells Fargo, America’s largest bank by market value. Chinese banks have been wary about making international acquisitions after ill-timed investments by China Investment Corp, a sovereign-wealth fund, just before the global financial crisis. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s $690m purchase of the London-based trading unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank is one of the most ambitious overseas forays by a Chinese bank ever – yet it is worth less than 0.03% of ICBC’s assets.

 

对发达经济体来说,情况则大为不同。中资银行在那些国家的影响力不大,所以中国引发信贷危机的危险要小得多。去年年底,中国商业银行海外贷款总计只有4100亿美元,还不及富国银行(美国市值最大的银行)贷款组合的一半。全球金融危机前夕,主权财富基金中国投资有限责任公司(简称中投)的投资时机失当,此后中资银行对于跨国并购态度谨慎。中国工商银行以6.9亿美元收购南非标准银行位于伦敦的国际市场业务部,已是中资银行最大规模的海外收购了。尽管如此,这一并购金额也还不到工行资产的0.03%

 

Whatever happens to the domestic economy, it seems inevitable that Chinese financial institutions will increase their weight in developed markets in the coming years. If growth in China holds up well, they will have even more cash to deploy abroad; if their own economy stumbles, they will have an extra incentive to look abroad. For now, less than 3% of Chinese banks’ 102 trillion yuan in loans are in foreign currencies. Just serving Chinese companies as they venture abroad will ensure a big increase: they have accounted for nearly a third of all global cross-border M&A deals so far this year, according to Dealogic. Of Chinese insurers’ 13 trillion yuan in assets, a mere 2% are currently overseas. Insurers are starting to grab headlines with their overseas investments, such as Ping An’s acquisition of the Lloyd’s building, a London landmark, and Anbang’s bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, owner of the Sheraton and Westin brands. More are sure to follow.

 

未来,不管国内经济如何发展,中国金融机构看似将不可避免地在发达国家市场上增加影响力。如果中国能持续稳定增长,它们就会有更多现金配置于海外;如果中国经济发展受挫,它们则更有动力放眼海外。目前中资银行102万亿元贷款总额中只有不到3%是外汇贷款。研究机构Dealogic的数据显示:今年到目前为止,全球跨境并购近三分之一都由走出去的中国企业完成,仅为这些企业提供贷款就一定会大幅增加外汇贷款的比重。中资保险公司13万亿元的资产中,海外资产目前只占2%。它们在海外的投资开始占据新闻头条,例如平安收购伦敦地标建筑劳埃德大厦,安邦竞购喜达屋酒店及度假村集团(旗下拥有喜来登、威斯汀等酒店品牌)。更多交易必将接踵而来。

 

In some ways, this is to be welcomed. Over the past 15 years China has transformed earnings from its trade surplus into foreign-exchange reserves, most of which in turn were stashed away in American government bonds, which are safe but low-yielding. Foreign investment and overseas acquisitions, if well managed, are a more productive use of China’s savings.

 

某种程度上来说这是好事。在过去15年里,中国把从贸易顺差得来的收入转为外汇储备,其中大部分都用于购买美国国债,安全但收益率低。如果管理得当,海外投资和跨境并购能更有效地利用中国的储蓄。

 

Yet these outbound forays also harbour serious dangers. In the vanguard are state-owned enterprises, many of which are already leveraged to the hilt at home. Take ChemChina, a chemicals giant that bid $44 billion for Syngenta, a Swiss rival, earlier this year. If approved, this will be China’s biggest overseas takeover in history. Yet ChemChina’s debt-to-equity ratio is 234%; Syngenta’s is a much more conservative 44%.

 

然而这些跨境并购也隐含着严重的风险。打头阵的都是国企,其中很多企业的国内杠杆已达高位。以年初化工巨头中国化工竞购其瑞士竞购对手先正达为例,如果获批,将成为中国有史以来最大的跨境收购案。然而中国化工的负债权益比高达234%,而先正达只有44%,相对要保守得多。

 

In normal circumstances, banks might be reluctant to fund companies already carrying so much debt. But Chinese banks are only too willing to back SOEs, especially when international expansion is part of their national mission. Foreign banks, too, assume that government support for SOEs is rock-solid. These deals are spreading China Inc’s indebtedness to foreign markets; the balance-sheets of its acquisition targets will become much more vulnerable to a downturn in growth.

 

在正常情况下,银行可能不愿放贷给债务水平已经很高的企业。但中资银行却十分乐于支持国企走出去,尤其是在海外扩张成为一项国家使命的时候。外资银行也认为政府对国企的支持坚如磐石。这些并购案正将中国企业的负债推向海外市场;一旦增长下滑,收购目标的资产负债表将更为脆弱。

 

Mercifully, direct global exposure to the dangers within China’s financial system is still small for now. That is thanks in large part to a regulatory wall around the economy: foreigners can own no more than 20% of local banks, and can invest in stocks and banks only through strictly controlled channels. As a result, foreign investors own just around 1% of the Chinese stock market and even less of the bond market.

 

万幸的是,中国金融体系内的危险对全球的直接影响目前还很小。这主要是归功于中国经济监管对外资的限制:外资在本地银行持股不得超过20%,且只有通过严格管控的渠道才能投资股票和银行。因此,海外投资者在中国股票市场的份额只有1%,债券市场还要更少。

 

International banks, for their part, account for only 1.5% of total commercial bank assets in China. More than half of those assets are concentrated in the hands of three institutions: HSBC, Standard Chartered and Singapore’s OCBC Wing Hang, according to KPMG. Several others, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citi, previously had large investments in Chinese banks but sold them for chunky profits in recent years.

 

外资银行资产仅占中国商业银行总资产的1.5%。据毕马威的数据显示,其中半数以上的资产集中在三家银行:汇丰、渣打和新加坡的华侨永亨银行。另外几家,包括高盛、美国银行和花旗,曾在中资银行有大笔投资,但是近年来全部退出,获利颇丰。

 

For foreign banks with big operations in China, its slowdown clearly poses risks. Standard Chartered got a taste of that in 2014, when it set aside about $175m to cover losses incurred in lending to a Chinese trading company, which had pledged the same stockpile of metals as collateral many times over to different banks. That scandal also dragged in Citi, HSBC and others. But they have generally been careful, partly because they have no alternative. Chinese banks, with their deeper local connections and rapid lending, have scooped up the vast majority of domestic clients, including the most indebted ones. Foreign banks, by and large, still serve international companies, which are among the safest borrowers in China. “The joy of being a drop in the ocean is that you can choose your drop in the ocean,” jokes one foreign veteran.

 

对于在中国业务规模较大的外资银行来说,中国经济放缓无疑带来了风险。渣打银行在2014年就吃了苦头。当时渣打向一家中国贸易公司发放了贷款,而这家公司向多家银行多次抵押同一批金属,最终渣打损失了1.75亿美元。这一案件还牵涉到了花旗、汇丰等其他银行,不过总体来说,外资银行在中国还是很谨慎的,原因之一是它们别无选择。中资银行与本地客户关系深厚,放贷速度快,手中已握有绝大部分的国内客户,包括债务最沉重的客户。外资银行总体来说仍然主要服务国际公司,而它们在中国也是最稳妥的客户。一位资深外籍银行人士开玩笑说:作为九牛之一毛的好处就在于你可以选择当哪根毛。”

 

The next few years could bring dramatic changes on multiple fronts. Regulators have opened new channels for foreigners to invest in stocks, creating a link between the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges; another link to the Shenzhen exchange is also in the works. As part of making the yuan a more global currency, China is also opening its bond market to institutional investors.

 

未来几年多个方面都可能会发生巨变。监管当局已为外资投资股票开放了新渠道,在上海证交所和香港证交所之间建立了互通机制;深交所也在准备实现另外一个互通机制。为了让人民币更加国际化,中国还向海外机构投资者开放了其债券市场。

 

And some foreign banks want a bigger foothold, believing that China’s growth prospects outweigh its risks. International bank lending to Chinese residents in mid-2015 amounted to $1.2 trillion, close to an all-time high and more than three times the 2010 figure, according to the Bank for International Settlements. HSBC, the biggest foreign bank in China, considered shifting its global headquarters to Hong Kong earlier this year, though in the end stayed put in London. Even those firms that want to insulate themselves from China will find it difficult to resist the gravitational pull of the world’s second-largest economy. “For serious investors, it’s no longer optional to be here,” says Eugene Qian, China head for UBS.

 

一些外资银行想要扩大自己的立足之地,认为中国经济成功发展的机会大于风险。国际清算银行的数据显示,截止2015年中,外资银行对中国居民的贷款高达1.2万亿美元,接近历史最高水平,是2010年的三倍多。中国最大的外资银行汇丰今年年初还曾考虑将其全球总部搬至香港,不过最后还是留在了伦敦。即使是那些希望能跟中国保持距离的公司也将难挡世界第二大经济体的巨大吸引力。瑞银中国区总裁钱于军说:对严肃的投资者来说,进入中国是必然的选择。

 

Many are still holding off, believing that Chinese growth and the yuan have further to fall. But it is only a matter of time before major benchmarks such as the MSCI world equity index start to incorporate Chinese stocks and bonds. As that happens, funds from university endowments in California to pension providers in Sweden will follow their lead, adding onshore Chinese assets to their portfolios. Based on their current trajectory, China’s capital markets could be the world’s biggest within a decade. “Investors in America won’t be able to go to bed without knowing where China is trading,” says Luke Spajic of the Asian arm of Pimco, a giant fund manager. The pace may vary but the trend seems inexorable: Chinese and global financial systems are becoming intertwined. With each passing year, China’s problems will increasingly be the world’s problems.


很多投资者还在观望,认为中国经济和人民币还有下行的空间。然而,MSCI世界股权指数等主要基准指数纳入中国的股票和债券是迟早的事。到那时,从美国加州的大学捐赠基金到瑞典的养老基金,各类基金都会紧随其后,将中国国内资产纳入其投资组合。基于目前的发展趋势,中国资本市场的规模有可能在十年内跃居世界首位。基金管理巨头太平洋投资管理公司亚洲部门的卢克·斯帕吉齐说:“美国的投资者如果不知道中国的投资走势,就会睡不着觉。”发展的步伐或快或慢,但趋势看来不可扭转:中国和世界的金融体系正渐渐交织在一起。每过一年,中国的问题都将日益成为世界的问题。

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