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遏制美元信贷紧缩

2020-3-19 15:12

 

随着市场已经陷入动荡,美元信贷紧缩现在威胁着世界经济。依赖国际贸易的公司收益大幅下降,许多公司将无法偿还以美元计价的债务。国际银行面临着巨大的压力。


世界已经认识到拖延抗击传染性病毒措施的代价。同样,政策制定者犹豫的时间越长,政府和央行应对这场健康危机经济后果的许多工具也就越无效。


甚至在COVID-19大流行之前,一场迫在眉睫的信贷危机就已经很明显了。2019年12月,罗伯特·特里芬国际公司(Robert Triffin International)的一份报告指出,美国以外的每一项美元敞口指标都亮起了红灯。“美国以外非银行机构的美元债务创下了新纪录,”作者警告说,“货币错配和私营部门的杠杆增加了。”非美国银行的美元融资看起来很脆弱。”


事实上,美国以外的非银行机构持有的美元计价债务目前已超过12万亿美元,占全球GDP的14%,而2007年全球金融危机爆发前,这一比例仅为10%。此外,银行以外的非美国实体发行的美元债券接近7万亿美元,是2007年水平的三倍。许多美国以外的企业(包括中国和其它新兴市场的企业)将难以偿还美元债务。


19国集团危机爆发3个月后,国际商品和服务贸易仍处于中断状态。收益为零的公司还要多久才能偿还债券?


许多公司将采取可能对银行造成严重打击的防御性金融战略。例如,陷入困境的公司将提取存款(被视为银行的稳定资金)或激活信贷额度。全球企业对美元流动性的争夺将侵蚀银行的流动性缓冲。银行可能被迫削减贷款和信贷额度。它们可以比全球金融危机之前更快地做到这一点,因为新的《巴塞尔协议III》(Basel III)流动性规则使银行更容易撤销信贷额度。


银行将大举抛售风险资产,并在市场波动性飙升的情况下,要求杠杆客户提供更多抵押品。因此,受到跨境一连串传染性破产打击的机构,可能会给全球经济增加进一步的通缩压力。


大幅降息还不够。企业美元债务的累积规模太大,即将对企业盈利造成的冲击也太严重。与2007年和2008年一样,私人流动性正迅速从市场中流失。各国央行应迅速通过新一轮大规模量化宽松(QE)向市场注入流动性,再次发出“不惜一切代价”的信号。


只有美联储(fed)能够以足够的规模提供必要的美元流动性。尽管美联储在国内遭受了不应有的政治批评,但它在上一场危机中履行了自己的职责。除了稳定美国债券市场(这场危机的中心)之外,它还为其他主要央行提供了无限制的美元掉期,这在一定程度上承认了一个事实:欧洲银行的美元敞口主要与投资美国抵押贷款相关证券有关。


但这次不同。自上次危机以来,美联储作为最后贷款人的权力一直受到限制。此外,即将到来的美元流动性危机的震中可能不在美国,而是在非美国公司发行的美元计价债券市场。美联储将不愿帮助背负过多美元债务的外国公司。


然而,与2007年和2008年一样,美元流动性问题将是此次危机的核心。解决这一问题需要许多官方实体——央行、监管机构,尤其是各国政府——采取协调一致的行动。


美联储在3月15日采取的措施,以及领导其他央行的行动,值得称赞。所有央行都需要大幅加大量化宽松力度。与美联储的美元互换额度应被用来确保各国央行自由地以美元放贷。考虑到在冠状病毒冲击之前,非美国银行的美元敞口总额巨大,在没有官方援助的情况下,一些大型银行的美元债务完全有可能出现违约。监管机构应放松适用于银行的资本和流动性规定。欧洲央行(ecb)上周降低欧元区各大银行的资本金和流动性要求是正确的。

 

然而,在百年一遇的流感大流行期间,只有政府才能应对风险规避。只有迅速采取行动,它们才能避免全球经济崩溃。企业违约的全球连锁反应将削弱金融体系。向遭受流感大流行打击的公司提供直接和紧急援助至关重要。因此,对国家援助的财政规则和限制应该放松,政府应该向银行提供部分担保,以便迅速向陷入困境的公司提供贷款。没有什么地方比欧元区更有必要这样做了。欧元区正面临一场独特的考验,考验其帮助受冲击最严重成员国的能力。


各国政府不应在支持股市方面退缩,或许可以通过央行的代理。股价的大幅下跌创造了获利的机会,而动荡的市场意味着,在官方购买的影响下,股价可能会更加强劲地上涨。


世界各地的决策者在采取措施控制病毒方面拖延了太久。他们不应该在经济政策上重复这个错误。他们现在必须一致同意,立即、大胆、共同采取行动。我们可以稍后再担心激烈的紧急措施的负面影响,不管怎样,这些措施中的大部分都是暂时的。

 

With markets already in turmoil, a dollar credit crunch now threatens the world economy. Companies dependent on international trade have seen their earnings collapse, and many will be unable to service their dollar-denominated debts. International banks are facing severe pressure.

The world has learned about the costs of delaying measures to fight a contagious virus. Likewise, the many instruments governments and central banks have to tackle the economic consequences of this health crisis also become less effective the longer policymakers dither.

A looming credit crunch was evident even before the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2019, a report from Robert Triffin International noted that every metric of dollar exposure outside the United States was flashing red. “The dollar debt of non-banks outside the United States is at a new record,” the authors warned, and “currency mismatches and leverage in the private sector have increased. The dollar funding of non-US banks looks fragile.”

Indeed, the dollar-denominated debt held by non-banks outside the US now exceeds US$12 trillion, or 14 percent of global GDP, up from 10 percent in 2007 just before the global financial crisis. Moreover, dollar bonds issued by non-US entities other than banks are almost US$7 trillion, which is triple the 2007 level. Numerous corporations outside the US (including in China and other emerging markets) will struggle to service their dollar debts.

Three months into the COVID-19 crisis, international trade in goods and services remains disrupted. How long will it be before companies with zero earnings fail to make payments on their bonds?

Many corporations will pursue defensive financial strategies which could hit banks hard. For example, stressed companies will withdraw their deposits (regarded as stable funding for banks) or activate their credit lines. A global corporate scramble for dollar liquidity will erode banks’ liquidity buffers. Banks could be forced to cut lending and credit lines. And they can do so more quickly than before the global financial crisis, because the new Basel III liquidity rules have made it easier for banks to revoke credit lines.

Banks will engage in fire sales of risk assets and, given skyrocketing volatility in markets, will demand more collateral from leveraged customers. Institutions hit by a cross-border string of contagious bankruptcies are thus likely to add further deflationary pressure to the global economy.

Slashing interest rates is not enough. The build-up in corporate dollar debts is too large, and the impending hit to earnings too severe. As in 2007 and 2008, private liquidity is fast draining away from markets. Central banks should quickly inject liquidity with renewed quantitative easing (QE) on a large scale, signaling once again that they will do “whatever it takes.”

Only the US Federal Reserve can provide the necessary dollar liquidity on a sufficient scale. Although it has suffered undeserved political criticism at home, the Fed did its duty in the last crisis. In addition to stabilizing US bond markets (the epicenter of that crisis), it provided other major central banks with unlimited access to dollar swaps, partly in recognition of the fact that European banks’ dollar exposure was primarily related to investments in US mortgage-related securities.

But this time is different. The Fed’s lender-of-last-resort powers have been curtailed since the last crisis. Moreover, the epicenter of the coming dollar-liquidity crisis will probably not be in the US, but rather in markets for dollar-denominated bonds issued by non-US companies. The Fed will be reluctant to come to the aid of foreign companies with too much dollar debt.

Still, as in 2007 and 2008, the problem of dollar liquidity will be at the heart of the crisis. Solving it will require concerted action by many official entities – central banks, regulators, and above all governments.

The Fed deserves credit for the measures taken on March 15, and for leading action by other central banks. All central banks need to step up QE substantially. Dollar swap lines with the Fed should be used to ensure central banks lend freely in dollars. Given the huge overall dollar exposure of non-US banks before the coronavirus shock, it is entirely possible that some large banks would face default on their dollar debts in the absence of official assistance. Regulators should ease capital and liquidity rules applying to banks. The European Central Bank was right last week to lower capital and liquidity requirements for the largest eurozone banks.

Yet only governments can deal with the flight from risk during a once-in-a-century pandemic. They can avoid a global economic collapse only if they act quickly. A global cascade of corporate defaults would cripple the financial system. Providing direct and immediate aid to the companies hit by the pandemic is essential. As such, fiscal rules and restrictions on state aid should be relaxed, and governments should offer partial guarantees to banks that extend loans quickly to distressed companies. Nowhere is this more necessary than in the eurozone, which faces a unique test of its ability to help the hardest-hit member states.

Governments should not shrink from supporting equity markets, perhaps through the agency of central banks. Steep declines in equity prices create opportunities for profit, and volatile markets mean that prices are likely to rise more strongly in response to official purchases.

Policymakers around the world delayed too long in taking measures to contain the virus. They should not repeat this mistake with economic policy. They must now agree to act boldly, immediately, and together. We can worry later about the downsides of drastic emergency measures, most of which will be temporary anyway.

 

原作者: Philip Turner 来自: ejinsight