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Leader_Donald Trump beats a retreat over China’s currency

来源:FT中文网    2017-04-17 06:16

        Another week, another series of flip-flops by America’s president. Last week, along with reversing course on Nato, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and the US Export-Import Bank, all of which he is much keener on now than he was a week earlier, Donald Trump did not, after all, designate China a currency manipulator.        又一周过去,美国总统又做出一系列逆转。上周,唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)对北约(Nato)、美联储(Federal Reserve)主席珍妮特•耶伦(Janet Yellen)以及美国进出口银行(US Export-Import Bank)都扭转立场,态度比一周前积极得多。他还终于决定不把中国列为汇率操纵国。
        For someone who railed against Beijing’s unfair exchange rate practices, excoriated his predecessors for failing to confront the issue and swore he would name China as a manipulator on his first day in office, this was quite a climbdown. As it happens, it is a perfectly sensible move. But given that it was coupled with vainglorious comments about the dollar being too strong because of confidence in him, Mr Trump’s about-turn suggests an enduringly eccentric approach to policymaking more than it does a principled and considered change of mind.        对于曾经猛轰北京方面不公平汇率实践、指责历届美国总统未能直面这个问题、并称自己在上任第一天就会给中国贴上操纵国标签的特朗普,这是一个相当大的转身。事实上,这也是一个完全明智的举动。但是,鉴于特朗普同时发表了自吹自擂的言论,扬言各方对他的信心导致美元太强,他的大转变似乎在更大程度上表明了一种一如既往的奇葩政策制定方式,而不是有原则和经过深思熟虑的想法改变。
        Whatever China has done in the past, the idea that it is intervening to gain a competitive advantage is absurd. Terrified of a vicious circle of a sliding currency and uncontrolled capital flight — of the kind that rocked world markets in August 2015 — Beijing has spent billions of dollars in recent years propping the renminbi up, not pushing it down        无论中国在过去做过什么,有关它为了获得竞争优势而干预汇市的想法是荒谬的。出于对汇率下滑和资本外逃失控引发恶性循环(这种局面曾在2015年8月震撼世界市场)的恐惧,北京方面近年支出巨额美元支撑人民币汇率,而根本无意压低人民币。
        The US could always argue the Chinese currency should be allowed to float completely free of state intervention. But it is obviously not in America’s interest to see a sharp appreciation against its largest trading partner and risk a destabilisation in the global financial system. In any case, naming China a manipulator, contrary to the over-excited threats of some currency warriors, authorises the US to do nothing except negotiate with Beijing over the renminbi, which it is already doing.        美国总是可以提出,中国的货币应该被允许自由浮动,完全不受国家干预。但是,如果美元相对于美国最大贸易伙伴的货币大幅升值,导致全球金融体系面临不稳定风险,那显然不符合美国的利益。无论如何,与某些汇率“斗士”过于激动的威胁相反,把中国称为一个操纵国,除了授权美国政府在人民币问题上与北京方面谈判(而它已经在这样做)以外,并不会带来其他授权。
        Mr Trump’s other assertion — that the recent unwelcome strength of the dollar was due to the market’s confidence in him — is also somewhat suspect. As part of the “Trump trade”, the US currency rose sharply in the weeks following his election. It has since retraced about half the distance from its peak on a trade-weighted basis. In reality the dollar now appears to be following the prospects of tighter monetary policy in the US relative to other countries. It fell back in March after the Fed’s open market committee signalled a slower pace of interest rate rises.        特朗普的另一个断言(美元不受欢迎的近期强势是由于市场对他有信心)也有点可疑。作为“特朗普交易”的一部分,美元在他当选后的几周大幅上涨。在那之后,美元贸易加权汇率已经回吐了大约一半涨幅。现实是,美元似乎在跟随美国相对于其他国家收紧货币政策的前景。在美联储的联邦公开市场委员会(FOMC)暗示加息步伐将会比较缓慢之后,美元曾在3月回落。
        The exchange rate dropped somewhat this week after Mr Trump’s comments, but he would be badly advised to imagine he can efficiently manage the currency through jawboning. One of the ways the US dollar has maintained its standing as a reserve currency in the past quarter-century is having successive administrations let it find its own level rather than perpetually trying to micromanage it for reasons of international competitiveness.        在特朗普表态之后,美元汇率上周有所下降。但是,如果他以为自己翻翻嘴皮子就能高效率地管理汇率,那么他肯定是得到了糟糕的建议。美元在过去25年保持储备货币地位的方式之一是,历届行政当局让它找到自己的汇率水平,而不是出于国际竞争力原因,没完没了地试图对其进行微观管理。
        And while it is welcome Mr Trump is now open to reappointing Ms Yellen as Fed chair, it should not be in the context of interfering with central bank independence. It would be as wrong to press her to keep interest rates low as a matter of principle, which appears to be his current stance, as it was to attack Ms Yellen during the election campaign for not raising them sooner.        与此同时,尽管特朗普现在对任命耶伦续任美联储主席持开放态度是可喜的,但此举不应该被放在干涉央行独立的背景下。从原则上讲,对耶伦施压、要求她保持低利率(这似乎是特朗普目前的姿态),与他在竞选期间抨击耶伦没有更快加息一样,都是错误的。
        It is always pleasing when Mr Trump manages to hit upon a sensible policy and listens to the voices of reason within his administration. Rather more concerning is the caprice with which such changes seem to happen.        当特朗普最终拿出一项明智政策,聆听他的行政当局内部的理性声音时,总是一件喜事。更令人忧虑的是这类变化似乎反映出的那种任性。
        On this occasion, the rest of the world can breathe a sigh of relief that a currency war between the US and China has been averted, at least for a while. But it should not imagine that the possibility of destructive confrontation in the field of international economics from Mr Trump’s administration has therefore disappeared.        就事论事,世界其他地方可以松口气,美中之间的货币战争被避免了,至少在一段时间内将是如此。但是世人不应该以为,特朗普政府在国际经济领域挑起破坏性对抗的可能性就此消失了。

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