10/19/2008

[转载]《远东经济评论》:中国大崩溃



(九月二日,成都当地的投资者在一家证券公司的电子显示屏幕前查看股票指数)

中国大崩溃 The Great Crash of China

【来源】《远东经济评论》 Far Eastern Economic Review 08.10.01
【作者】Brian Klein(美国对外关系委员会研究员)
【翻译】dakelv
【声明】本译文版权归Anti-CNN和译者共同拥有。转载请注明出处及译者。

人们普遍认为,席卷美国、欧洲、日本乃至整个世界的金融震荡不会对中国造成任何影响。虽然相对来说中国没有受到次贷风波和信用紧缩的影响,但是实际上,中国经济正在面临着一个大的结构上的调整,而这个调整比预期的要来得更早。

国外市场对于廉价制造商品需求的减少,重大投资的失误以及产品安全方面的关注,在蚕食中国加工业基础的同时,也挑战着持续发展的中国经济和正在崛起的中产阶级之间的紧张关系。

一个被普遍认同的看法是,中国的国内需求,而不是出口,将越来越成为中国经济发展的动力,这同时也在中国经济和大起大落的世界经济之间提供了一个自然的缓冲地带。

一般认为,中国新兴的中产阶级将继续购买电视机、计算机、洗衣机和汽车这些用巨大的私人现金存款在国内生产的产品。国内银行的经营状况健康,而且中央政府现在正通过积极的和扩张的财政政策和货币政策来刺激增长。

表面数据看起来很鼓舞人心。消费者支出增长了22%,食品价格的回落减轻了通货膨胀的压力,外汇储备增势持续强劲(到七月份已达1.8万亿美元)。固定资 产投资也在增长(2008年的前八个月增长了27%),而且中国的主权信用等级也在改善(标准普尔把中国的长期等级增加到A+)。

然而如果仔细观察,我们看到的却是一副完全不同的画面。到2007年底,中国GDP增长的几乎一半来自于出口和政府支出,而在2003年,GDP的增长还是主要来源于投资和私人消费。

虽然存款利率一直很高,但是大量的财富还是以被投资到了股票和房地产市场。上证指数比2007年十月中旬的巅峰值降低了三分之二;恒生指数也比一年前的峰值降低了百分之五十还多。

固定资产投资虽然仍在增长,但是三分之一的投资仍然涌向房地产业(比上年增长29%),虽然到七月底为止(最近数据更新月份)中国商业楼层面积空置率增长 了6.1%。房地产价格呈现出十八个月以来最为缓慢的增长率,广州和深圳的新房价格已经下降。同时,新车销售量虽然仍在增长,但是增长幅度已经放缓。

毫不奇怪,根据中国官方数据,消费者的信心正在降低,西方银行对空置商品房的拥有者 - 中国商业银行 - 的信誉评估也降低了。随着成千上万中小企业的破产,很多人的跻身中产阶级行列之梦也遭遇到挫折。

今年,仅在广东省这个中国廉价制造业基地,就有一半的鞋厂(2200多家)倒闭。中国期望用高附加值的制造业去代替低技能、低工资的工作。但是奠定这种经济的基础的准备工作却没有展开。固定资产投资的目标一直是制造业,而制造业的重点一直是低端产品。

早些时候,北京和中国的建筑商都期望在奥运会结束后会有大批的外国公司在中国首都建立办事处。当然这是在世界主要经济体遭受经济衰退的威胁之前的事情。

下岗的工厂工人和由于建筑业减缓而将失业的数以百万计的外地民工,将要重返他们数年离开的至今并无太大变化的农村。那些在小城市发生的针对地方官员的示威 游行很快升级成“群体事件”也就没有什么可以奇怪的了。到七月份为止,教育、健康和社会项目的固定投资仅占不到2.3%。

除非目前的扩张性的货币和金融政策是针对于技能的开发、知识产权执法机构的扩充以及提高研发能力,中国经济很可能会走入死胡同。正在崛起的中产阶级的期 待、日益减少的制造业就业机会和技能工人的缺乏,这一切对中国经济的持续发展所造成的威胁比中国银行购买美国国债的威胁要大得多。

在过去几十年里,经济发展一直是社会稳定和共产党执政的合法性的基础。温家宝总理在最近在联合国发表的演说中重申了中国改革开放的承诺。这个承诺意味着中 国传统的低端制造业方面的转型方面要做出艰难的选择。随着世界经济继续下滑(大多数人认为在美国领导下的经济复苏也是至少一年以后的事),中国奥运的成功 逐渐在人们的脑海中淡忘;它现在所面临的是无法为之欢呼的潮水般的失业大军。

【原文】

The Great Crash of China

by Brian Klein

Far Eastern Economic Review

Posted October 1, 2008

China is widely believed to be immune from the economic shock waves making their way around the world from the U.S. to Europe and Japan. Although it is relatively unaffected by subprime mortgages and the credit crunch, China’s economy is actually facing a fundamental structural adjustment that has arrived much earlier than expected.

Decreasing foreign demand for inexpensive manufactured goods, the misallocation of vital investment, and product safety concerns are straining China’s manufacturing base and challenging the tenuous linkages between continued economic growth and a rising middle-class.

Conventional wisdom holds that China’s domestic demand is increasingly responsible for driving growth, not exports, giving the Chinese economy a natural buffer against wild swings in the world economy. The new middle class, it is assumed, will continue buying television sets, computers, washing machines and cars – all domestically produced with cash derived from large reserves of personal savings. Domestic banks are healthy and the central government is now promoting growth through expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.

At first glance the statistics look promising. Consumer spending is up 22%, inflationary pressures are receding as food prices drop, and strong foreign exchange reserves continue to accrue ($1.8 trillion as of July). Fixed asset investment is rising as well (up 27% in the first eight months of 2008) and China’s sovereign debt rating is improving (S&P has raised long term ratings to A+.)

On closer examination, however, a vastly different story emerges. By the end of 2007 almost half of China’s GDP growth was attributed to exports and government consumption, a dramatic reversal from 2003 when growth was dominated by investment and private consumption.

While savings rates have been traditionally high, immense wealth has been invested in the stock market and real estate. The Shanghai index lost two-thirds of its value since its peak in mid-October 2007 and the Hang Seng is down over 50% from its peak a year ago.

While fixed asset investment may be rising, one-third is continuing to pour into the real-estate sector (up 29% year-on-year) despite vacant commercial floor space in China rising by 6.1% at the end of July (the latest month for available statistics). Real estate prices are experiencing their slowest growth in 18 months and new home prices in Guangzhou and Shenzhen have actually declined. Meanwhile growth in new car sales, while still robust, is slowing.

Not surprisingly, consumer confidence, according to official Chinese statistics, is drifting downwards and Western ratings on Chinese commercial banks, the holders of unused commercial real estate, are being lowered. Those on the cusp of entering the middle class are faring poorly as tens of thousands of small and medium sized enterprises go bankrupt.

Guangdong Province alone, the heart of China’s low-cost manufacturing base, has seen half of the shoe manufacturing industry close shop (over 2,200 factories) this year. These are some of the low-skill, low-wage jobs China wants to replace with high value-added manufacturing. However, there has been very little preparation for laying the foundations for such an economy. The largest destination for fixed asset investment has been manufacturing, much of which has been concentrated in low-end commodities.

The expectation in Beijing earlier this year, teeming with cranes and construction workers, was for a post-Olympic surge in foreign companies opening offices in the capital. That was of course before the threat of recession hit the world’s major economies.

Laid-off factory employees, along with millions of migrant construction workers likely to be left jobless as construction slows, will return to a countryside largely unchanged from when they left years before. It should come as no surprise then that demonstrations against local officials in smaller cities quickly escalate into “mass incidents.” Fixed investment in education, health, and social programs accounted for a paltry 2.3% of the total through July.

Unless current expansionary monetary and fiscal policies are directed at skills development, an expanded intellectual property rights enforcement bureaucracy and research and development capacity, China may be running headlong into a great economic brick wall. Rising middle class expectations, shrinking manufacturing jobs, and a lack of qualified workers are more of a threat to continued economic growth than the People’s Bank of China’s exposure to U.S. Treasury bonds.

Economic development has been the foundation of social stability and party legitimacy for the past several decades. Premier Wen, in his recent UN speech, reaffirmed China’s commitment to reform and opening. That entails some hard choices regarding China shifting away from its traditional focus on low-end production. As the world economy continues to flounder (and most expect a U.S. led turn around is at least a year away) China faces the fading memories of a successful Olympics and a wave of unemployed workers with very little to cheer about.

Brian Klein is an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.

【专题】国际金融危机 $ 覆巢之下复有完卵?

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