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经济学人:自由互换

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Finance and economics

财经商业
Free exchange
自由互换
The once and future currency
货币的今天明天
A new book examines the world's love-hate relationship with the dollar
新书出炉:世界与美元之间的爱恨情仇
LUMPY, unpredictable, potentially large: that was how Tim Geithner, then head of the New York Federal Reserve, described the need for dollars in emerging economies in the dark days of October 2008, according to transcripts of a Fed meeting released last month.
根据上个月公布的联邦会议记录,起伏不定,难以预测,潜在市场巨大,这是时任纽约联邦储备长的蒂姆?盖特纳在2008年10月的黑暗日子里所描绘的新兴经济体对美元的需求。

To help smooth out those lumps, the Fed offered to swap currencies with four favoured central banks, as far off as South Korea and Singapore.

为了平复需求中的大起大落,美联储决定与备受青睐的四家中央银行互换货币,远及韩国和新加坡。
They could exchange their own money for dollars at the prevailing exchange rate.
只要承诺日后将以同样的汇率兑换回来,这些银行可以用现行汇率把他们的货币换成美元。
Why did the Fed decide to reach so far beyond its shores?
为什么美联储会如此大动干戈?
It worried that stress in a financially connected emerging economy could eventually hurt America.
因为它担心那些与它利益密切相关的新兴经济体的困境,最终会殃及美国。
But Mr Geithner also hinted at another motive.
但是盖特纳也暗示了另外一个动机:
The privilege of being the reserve currency of the world comes with some burdens, he said.
美元作为世界储备货币这一特殊名分,实在是让人欢喜让人忧。
That privilege is the subject of a new book, The Dollar Trap, by Eswar Prasad of Cornell University, who shares the world's ambivalence towards the currency.
康奈尔大学的埃斯瓦尔?普拉萨德同样对美元喜忧参半。他在新书《美元之困》中讲述的正是美元作为世界储备货币的尴尬处境。
The 2008 financial crisis might have been expected to erode the dollar's global prominence.
2008年的金融危机貌似削弱了美元在全球的统领地位。
Instead, he argues, it cemented it.
可普拉萨德论证道,事实恰恰相反。
America's fragility was, paradoxically, a source of strength for its currency.
金融危机反而加强了这一地位。美国的不景气偏偏是其货币坚挺的源头之一。
In the last four months of 2008 America attracted net capital inflows of half a trillion dollars.
在2008年的最后四个月中,美国取得了5000亿美元的资本净流入。
The dollar was a haven in tumultuous times, even when the tumult originated in America itself.
在动荡不定的时期—即使这样的动荡缘起美国—美元依旧是避风港湾。
The crisis also shattered conventional views about the adequate level of foreign-exchange reserves, prompting emerging economies with large dollar hoards to hoard even more.
这场危机同时也颠覆了对外汇储备应保持适当水平的传统观念,促使那些原本就拥有庞大美元储备的新兴经济体囤积更多的美元。
Finally, America's slump forced the Fed to ease monetary policy dramatically.
最终,美国的不景气使得美联储放松了货币政策。
In response, central banks in emerging economies bought dollars to stop their own currencies rising too fast.
作为回应,新兴经济体的中央银行买入美元,以阻止他们的货币升值过快。
Could Fed swap lines serve as a less costly alternative to rampant reserve accumulation?
美联储的互换路线能够为目前愈演愈烈的外汇储备囤积现象开辟一条代价较小的出路吗?
If central banks could obtain dollars from the Fed whenever the need arose, they would not need to husband their own supplies.
如果这些央行能够按需从美联储那里买入美元,他们就不必为自己的储备精打细算了。
The demand is there: India, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic and Peru have all made inquiries.
需求是永远存在的:印度,印度尼西亚,多明尼加共和国和秘鲁都已经在询问此事。
The swap lines are good business: the Fed keeps the interest from the foreign central bank's loans to banks, even though the other central bank bears the credit risk.
互换确实是桩好买卖:美联储得以赚取其他外国央行在的借款利息,信用风险也由外国央行承担。
The Fed earned 6.84% from South Korea's first swap, for example.
举例来说,单是与韩国的第一次货币互换,美联储就得以将6.84%的利息纳入囊中。
But it is not a business the Fed wants to be in.
然而,这一买卖美联储却并没想插手。
As one official said, We're not advertising.
正如一位官员所说:我们可不打算广而告之。
Swap lines would help emerging economies endure the dollar's reign.
货币互换路线确实能够帮助新兴经济体在美元的统领之下继续发展。
But will that reign endure? Mr Prasad thinks so.
但是这统领本身是否还来日方长?普拉萨德先生的答案是肯定的。
The dollar's position is suboptimal but stable and self-reinforcing, he writes.
他写道:目前美元的地位虽不是最理想的,但却非常稳定,同时也能自我稳固。
Much as Mr Prasad finds America's privileges distasteful, his book points to the country's qualifications for the job.
他发现,尽管美元这种特权非常不受欢迎,美国这个国家还是能够担此重任的。
America is not only the world's biggest economy, but also among the most sophisticated.
美国不仅仅是世界上最大的经济体,也是最错综复杂的经济体之一。
Size and sophistication do not always go together.
规模和复杂度并不总是相依而存。
In the 1900s the pound was the global reserve currency and Britain's financial system had the widest reach.
20世纪初期,英镑还是全球的储备货币,英国的金融体系触及广泛。
But America was the bigger economy.
但在那个时候,美国已经是最大的经济体了。
In the 2020s China will probably be the world's biggest economy, but not the most advanced.
在21世纪20年代,中国极有可能成为世界上最大的经济体,但绝不是最先进的。
America's sophistication is reflected in the depth of its financial markets.
美国人的智慧在金融市场的复杂性上得到了体现;
It is unusually good at creating tradeable claims on the profits and revenues that its economy generates.
他们极为擅长以经济体产生的利润和收入为基础,创造多种多样的可交易性金融产品。
In a more primitive system, these spoils would mostly accrue to the state or tycoons; in America, they back a vast range of financial assets.
在一个相对原始的体系内,这些战利品将主要归于国家或行业龙头,但在美国,它们会以多样的金融资产形式回馈给市场。
Mr Prasad draws the obvious contrast with China and its currency, the yuan, a widely hyped alternative to the dollar.
普拉萨德将最近炒得火热的替代货币人民币与美元相比较,结果出现明显的反差:
China's GDP is now over half the size of America's.
中国当前的GDP总额超过美国的一半,
But its debt markets are one-eighth as big, and foreigners are permitted to own only a tiny fraction of them.
但其债务市场规模仅仅是美国的八分之一,外债只被允许占其中的一小部分。
China's low central-government debt should be a source of strength for its currency.
中国为数不多的中央国债应该是人民币力量的来源之一,
But it also limits the volume of financial instruments on offer.
但这同时也限制了其所能提供的金融工具总量。
America has a big external balance-sheet, if not an obviously strong one.
美国的外部资产负债表并不强劲却足够庞大,
Its foreign liabilities exceed its overseas assets.
其对外负债超过了其海外资产,
But this worrying fact conceals a saving grace: its foreign assets are unusually adventurous and lucrative.
但这个令人担忧的事实掩盖了其可取之处:美国对外投资冒险精神十足且利润丰厚。
Its liabilities, on the other hand, are largely liquid, safe and low-yielding.
而其负债大多流动性强,安全性高,收益率低。
America therefore earns more on its foreign assets than it pays on its foreign liabilities.
因此,美国从海外资产获得的收益大于它用于外债的支出。
Alongside its economic maturity, America also has a greying population. This ageing is a source of economic weakness.
除了经济成熟度高,美国也背负着人口老龄化的问题。老龄化是经济疲软的根源,
But, Mr Prasad argues, it may be another reason for the dollar's global appeal.
但普拉萨德认为,这也可能是美元受全球追捧的另一个原因。
America's pensioners hold a big chunk of the government debt that is not held by foreigners.
美国退休人员持有的国债量远高于外债持有者。
A formidable political constituency, they will not allow the government to inflate away the value of these claims.
作为一个政治力量强大的选民团体,他们不会允许政府通过通胀消化掉这些债权的价值。
Thus America's powerful pensioners serve to protect the interests of its generous foreign creditors.
因此,退休人员巨大的影响力保护了大量外国债权人的利益。
America's sophistication has one final implication: the dollar has no long-term tendency to strengthen.
美国成熟的经济体还有一项关键的暗示:美元没有长远走高的趋势。
That again contrasts with its principal long-run rival.
与之不同,其主要长期的对手中国仍然是一个追赶型经济体。
China is still a catch-up economy.
随着与美国的生产力差距不断缩小,
As it narrows the productivity gap with America, its exchange rate, adjusted for inflation, will tend to rise.
人民币基于通胀调整后的汇率会趋于上升。
The yuan has appreciated by about 35% against the dollar since mid-2005.
自2005年年中以来,人民币对美元已升值约35 %。
A self-deprecating currency
自我贬值货币
The dollar's depreciation over that period is, of course, bad for anyone holding American assets.
但凡持有美元的债权方都不希望美元在持有时期不断贬值。
But the dollar is not merely a store of value.
但美元不仅是保值货币,
It has also become a popular funding currency.
它也是一种流行的融资型货币。
Banks and multinational firms borrow in dollars, even as they accumulate assets in other denominations.
银行和跨国公司甚至在用其他货币积累资产时也会借入美元。
Since no one wants to borrow in a currency that only goes up, this is not a role that China's currency could easily play.
鉴于没有人愿意借入只会升值的货币,人民币自然不能如此收放自如。
Moreover, because of its role as a funding currency, the dollar tends to strengthen in times of crisis.
并且,由于其融资型货币的特点,美元往往在危机时期走强,
That explains why emerging economies feel a lumpy, unpredictable need for dollars.
这解释了为什么新兴经济体对美元的需求起伏不定,难以预测。
America's currency may not hold its value against others.
美元可能不会保持住其相对于他国货币的价值,
But in times of stress, the appeal of a dollar asset is that it always holds its value against a dollar debt.
但在非常时期,美元资产的吸引力在于它能始终保持其相对于美元债务的价值。
The dollar is a global hegemon partly because it is also a global hedge.
这种全方位的防御力某种程度上巩固了美元的全球霸主地位。
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n. 范围,行列,射程,山脉,一系列
v. 排

 
global ['gləubəl]

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adj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的

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adj. 两者择一的; 供选择的; 非主流的

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obvious ['ɔbviəs]

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