2/07/2009

美联社:中国官方数字遮掩了急剧衰退




图表显示了中国官方通报的2008年季度增长,以及经济学家对同期的估计。(Chart shows China's growth by quarter for 2008 and economists’ estimate for the same periods.)

AP: China's official figures obscure sharp decline

中国官方数字模糊了急速下降

译言oldjackchn翻译

美联社记者乔·麦克唐纳By JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer

北京——出口下滑。工厂关门。2000多万人失去工作。官方数据显示,中国经济正在冷却,但是仍然健康地发展,这些数据模糊了经济学者们说法,近来的急速下降造成了明显的痛苦。

在远远的中国事情究竟发展的怎样,这个世界第三大经济体是停滞了,或是仍然发展,将会影响世界恢复的快慢。一个停滞的中国将会意味着对于从美国和其他国家进口工业原材料和消费品的需求减少。

差别在于发展速度的计算方法。北京是用一个季度的数据去和稍早的一整年数据比较,说他的经济在2008年的最后一个季度,健康地增长了6.8%。

但是专家说,如果与前三个月比较——其他的大多数主要国家采用的方法——中国的增长滑落得低到1%,甚至可能是0%。

摩根大通JP Morgan 经济学者弗兰克F.X. 刚 Frank F.X. Gong说,“最近的滑落比起长期的发展趋势是非常严重的。”美林公司Merrill Lynch 经济学者卢廷Ting Lu说,第四季度的增长与前三个月比较接近于零。

这个较低的季度对季度比的发展数字,能够符合其他的指示指标,这些指标显示了出口和制造业的下滑,投资和消费的减弱。

这痛苦明显地可以从工厂的车间和空空的饭店和商店看出来。

总经理吴健Wang Jian说,莱芜的胜源建筑材料公司Laiwu Sheng Yuan Building Materials Co.的销售已经从一年以前下降了50%。他说,建筑公司的状况已经坏得他不愿意再和他们签订合同了。

“我怕他们没有能力付款,”王说,他的公司在东部的城市莱芜,有100名员工。“建筑商已经拖欠我两亿多元(2,900万美元),我不知道什么时候我才能要回来这些钱。”

其他的亚洲国家经济,像日本和南韩,正在收缩,他们的经济原本能激励中国1%的增长。中国说,有迹象表明,他们的4万亿元(5,860亿美元)刺激政策的启动在11月份已经发生效果。

一月份制造业改善的关键指标,显示了滑落可能已经接近了底部。但是中国物流和采购联合会the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing的采购管理指标the purchasing managers index显示了制造业还是在收缩。

“尽管大字标题是这样乐观的数字,我们认为这给出的信号还不是恢复,而更可能是继续减弱,”渣打银行Standard Chartered 的经济学者斯蒂芬·格林Stephen Green在报告中说,“少一点坏消息不等于就是好消息。”

其他国家,像美国和日本,报告国内生产总值增长是用一个季度和前一个季度比较。这需要更多的数字处理来核算季度的差别变化,但是能更快地揭示执行的变化。

从事个人研究的经济学者对于这种统计方法的差距都很清楚,他们试图根据不充分的政府数据估算中国季度对季度的增长。

按照格林Green的估算,第四季度比较前一季度的增长,从上季度的4%,滑落到1%的年增长速率。

“我们在十一和十二月份急速减速,”他说,“还没有明显的迹象已经加速了。”

摩根大通JP Morgan给出了季度对季度估算的1.5%的年增长率。但是这个的数据也突出显示了急速下滑:这个速率只是这个银行说的中国早在2007年达到的季度对季度的15%增长率的十分之一。

出口贸易和拉动中国贸易的东南沿海受到最重的打击,而且衰退已经扩大到其他地区和产业,像房地产和汽车销售。

上海的一个酒店,金龙船海鲜酒家Kamboat Chinese Cuisine,在上个月的中国新年通常是最旺的经营期间,经营惨淡到让一些员工放假。饭店的主厨陈振江Chen Zhenjiang说,尽管他们大幅度地降低利润削减价格。

陈说,“没有什么比存钱更重要,即使是在过节时候。”

政府的国家统计局正在努力保持中国的经济快速发展,在得到新的数据后反复地修正前时期的发展评估。

只是到2005年快速发展的餐饮等服务行业才被计算进经济产出。这使得国家统计局修正调整了十年的发展数据。但是只是修正调整了年度的数据,没有修正调整那些每一季度的数据,这使得分析人员很难做出历史的比较。

“中国的统计体系真的是很混乱,”美林公司的卢Merrill's Lu说,“计算中国的季度对季度的增长率是非常困难,接近是不可能的。”

国家统计局说想要建立一个类似其他国家那样的报告体系。

“我们现在正在研究建立这样一个体系,”这个局的领导马建堂委员Commissioner Ma Jiantang上个月说,尽管他没有给出时间表。

原文:

AP: China's official figures obscure sharp decline

By JOE McDONALD – 18 hours ago

BEIJING (AP) — Plunging exports. Factory closures. More than 20 million people thrown out of work. Official data showing that China's economy is cooling but still growing strongly obscure what economists say is a sharp recent decline that has inflicted obvious pain.

What is happening matters far beyond China. Whether the third-largest economy is stalling or still growing could affect how quickly the world recovers. A stagnant China would mean less demand for industrial materials and consumer goods from the United States and others.

The difference lies in the way growth is measured. Beijing uses a method that compares growth in one quarter with a full year earlier and says its economy expanded by a healthy 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008.

But experts say that compared to the previous three months — the system used by most other major countries — China's growth fell to as low as 1 percent or possibly zero.

"The recent weakness is much worse than the long-term trend," said JP Morgan economist Frank F.X. Gong. Merrill Lynch economist Ting Lu said fourth-quarter growth from the previous three months was "close to zero."

The lower quarter-on-quarter growth figure would be in line with other indicators that show exports and manufacturing falling and weakness in investment and consumer spending.

The pain is evident on factory floors and in empty restaurants and shops.

Sales at the Laiwu Sheng Yuan Building Materials Co. have plunged 50 percent from a year earlier, said general manager Wang Jian. He said construction companies are in such bad shape he is reluctant to fill orders.

"I'm afraid they won't be able to pay," said Wang, whose company in the eastern city of Laiwu has 100 employees. "Builders already owe me more than 200 million yuan ($29 million), and I don't know when I'm going to get it back."

Other Asian economies such as Japan and South Korea are contracting, which would make Chinese growth of even 1 percent encouraging. Beijing says there are signs its 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus launched in November is taking effect.

A key indicator of manufacturing improved in January, suggesting the slump might be reaching its bottom. But the purchasing managers index of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said manufacturing still contracted.

"Despite the sunny headline figure, we believe it signals not a recovery, but rather continued weakness," Standard Chartered economist Stephen Green said in a report. "Less bad news is not the same as good news."

Other countries such as the United States and Japan report gross domestic product growth by comparing each quarter with the previous quarter. That requires more number-crunching to adjust for seasonal differences but quickly reveals changes in performance.

The gap in measurement is well known to private sector economists, who try to estimate China's quarter-on-quarter growth based on skimpy government data.

Fourth-quarter growth compared with the previous three months fell to 1 percent at an annual pace, down from 4 percent the previous quarter, according to Green.

"We sharply decelerated in November and December," he said. "There are no clear signals we have accelerated."

JP Morgan gave an estimate of 1.5 percent quarter-on-quarter annualized growth. But its figures also highlight a sharp decline: That rate is just one-tenth of the 15 percent quarter-on-quarter growth the bank says China achieved in early 2007.

Exporters and China's trade-driven southeast coast have been hit hardest but weakness has spread to other regions and industries such as real estate and auto sales.

At Kamboat Chinese Cuisine, a Shanghai restaurant, business was so lackluster for last month's Lunar New Year, usually a busy period, that some waiters were told to start vacation before the holiday, said executive chef Chen Zhenjiang. He said that was despite cutting prices so low they wiped out the restaurant's profit.

"Nothing is more important than saving money, even in the festival season," Chen said.

The Cabinet's National Statistics Bureau is struggling to keep up with China's rapid economic evolution. It repeatedly revises past growth estimates as new data come in.

It was only in 2005 that booming service industries such as restaurants were counted in economic output. That forced NBS to revise a decade's worth of growth figures. But only annual numbers were revised, not those for each quarter, making it harder for analysts to make historical comparisons.

"China's statistics system is really in a mess," said Merrill's Lu. "It's extremely difficult and close to impossible to calculate the quarter-on-quarter growth rate in China."

The bureau says it wants to create a reporting system like those of other countries.

"We are doing research right now on setting up this system," its boss, Commissioner Ma Jiantang, said last month, though he gave no timetable.

On the Net:
National Bureau of Statistics (in Chinese): http://www.stats.gov.cn/

哈佛教授入江昭:美国时代结束论浅薄可笑

就美国奥巴马政府的诞生,哈佛大学教授入江昭近日向共同社寄稿,认为美国市民运动的力量才真正是美国国力的基础,美国的时代没有结束,美国将从此进入衰退期的评论太浅薄可笑。入江昭教授的寄稿摘要如下(欲看全文请访问共同社):

和美国前总统布什相比,奥巴马不仅是人种不同。正如纽约时报在社论中指出的:布什独断专行、思想闭塞且缺乏自我反省意识;而奥巴马则对知识充满了好奇,对复杂问题有着卓越的理解能力,并且懂得自我批评。

但只要目睹了奥巴马自07年宣布参选以来这2年的市民运动的盛况,就会切身体会到美国的巨大潜力。这种自发组织各种集会,想尽力改善身边社会的市民阶层的力量,才是美国国力的基础。

布什政府时期美国在战争、外交方面均陷入了僵局,再加上目前的经济危机,有些评论家便做出美国的时代已经结束,美国将从此进入衰退期等评论。这些观点显得浅薄可笑。

奥巴马的就职演说以克服经济危机和美国对外关系两大内容。并非老生常谈的外交理论,全球环境下的美国这一具有哲学意义的主题是基础。

正如奥巴马在演说中提到的“世界已经改变。美国也必须和世界一起改变”,奥巴马清楚的认识到美国和世界紧密相连,两者不断变化。

如果说奥巴马政权有世界观,我认为就是意识到世界各地区间的、国家间的密不可分,并敏感于全人类息息相关的环境问题,强调国际经济相互依存,希望促进不同宗教、文明间交流对话。

如果用一句话概括,奥巴马有着全球性的视点,在此之中寻找美国的位置。在作为国际社会领导人的自负方面,奥巴马也把美国社会看作国际社会的缩影,认为将所有人种、民族、宗教的平等视为信念,就能对全人类的福祉做出贡献。


(入江昭,1934年生于东京。1953年赴美留学,取得哈佛大学博士学位。曾任芝加哥大学教授,1989年起任哈佛大学教授。曾担任美国历史学会主席等职务。著有《日本的外交》、《美中关系印象》、《如何学习历史》等书。)