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[经济学人] [2006.10.26]Economics focus:Hard currency, tight spot

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发表于 2010-4-29 02:40 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Economics focus经济观察
Hard currency, tight spot欧元与处在风口浪尖的意大利
Oct 26th 2006
From The Economist print edition

The euro is a cause of Italy's problems, but also a balm for them
欧元导致了意大利的财政问题,但同时也为其抚平了伤口



CHARGED with the thankless task of knocking Italy's public finances into shape, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa is doing his best. Alas, two top rating agencies think his best won't do. The finance minister faces a big budget deficit (4.1% of GDP last year) and mountainous public debt (in gross terms, 109% of GDP). But Standard & Poor's and Fitch say Mr Padoa-Schioppa's recent budget does too little. They think it relies too much on raising taxes and not enough on cutting spending, which economists say is a surer path to lasting fiscal sobriety. They are less optimistic than the minister about how much a crackdown on tax evasion can bring in. And they detect accounting jiggery-pokery too. Last week the agencies downgraded Italy's sovereign debt.
  虽然意大利财长派多亚夏欧帕(Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa)正使出浑身解数使该国财政状况趋于正常,不过这项费力不讨好的工作却备受众人指责。唉,该财长面对的是数额不菲的预算赤字(去年已占到该国GDP的4.1%)和巨额国债(总额已达GDP的109%),所以连世界两大顶级评级机构都认为他难以达成目的。此外,标准普尔和惠誉还认为派多亚夏欧帕先生最近公布的预算所能起到的作用不大,他们称其过于依赖通过增税来削减赤字,但对减支的依赖不足,而这两者都是经济学家们所宣扬的一条通往维持财政稳定的光明大道。有鉴于此,他们并不看好意大利经济,这更甚于派多亚夏欧帕对打击逃税而能带来财政收入增加的不乐观态度。于此同时,他们还察觉到了该国的会计猫腻。因此上周这两大机构下调了意大利的债信评级。

Italy's public finances are not its only problem. Its recent growth rate has been pathetic—it may manage 1.5% this year, after four years below 1%—as its companies have struggled to keep pace with competitors elsewhere in the euro zone: unit labour costs, relative to Germany's, have risen by more than 20% since 2000. An obvious (if temporary) solution, devaluation, is not possible within a currency union. Though it may seem far-fetched, some people believe that Italy might be pushed out of the euro zone. In a recent pamphlet Simon Tilford, of the Centre for European Reform, a London think-tank, puts the probability as high as 40%.
  不过意大利的财政状况还不是唯一的问题,近年来,意大利的经济增长十分惨淡,虽然今年有望突破1.5%,但此前4年的增长率都低于1%。于此同时,该国企业也在为能跟上欧元区其他竞争者的步伐而苦苦挣扎。而这都是因为意大利单位劳力成本的增幅较快,相对德国而言,其单位劳力成本自2000年来已上升了20%以上。虽然使货币贬值能效果显著的(也许是暂时的)解决这些问题,但这一手段不可能在货币联盟中实施。因此不少人认为意大利可能会被欧元区踢出局,虽然这种想法听起来有些牵强,但最近一份来自伦敦智库英国欧洲改革中心(the Centre for European Reform)西蒙•提福德(Simon Tilford)的小册子表明了这种可能性高达40%。

You might conclude that a slow-growing, highly indebted country such as Italy finds the euro zone an uncomfortable place to be. Not at all. Precisely because it is a member of the single-currency club, Italy has, considering the state of its books and businesses, been remarkably well regarded by the bond markets. Its ten-year bonds yield a mere 4.15% or so, only about 30 basis points (0.3 percentage points) more than their German equivalents. The markets are just as kind to other euro-zone spendthrifts. Government bonds from Greece (deficit last year, 5.2% of GDP; debt, 108%; but GDP growth, healthy) yield about the same as Italy's. Those from Portugal (deficit, 6%; debt, 63%; growth, perkier this year after a feeble run) yield ten basis points less.
  你也许会因此断定像意大利这样低增长、高负债的国家会认为欧元区实在不是个舒适的地方。但事实却非如此,正因为人们在考虑意大利的资产和企业状况时想到其是单一货币俱乐部的一员,所以该国才会被债券市场非常地看好。意大利10年期债券的收益率为4.15%左右,只比德国同种债券高差不多30个基点(即0.3%),但债券市场却如其他欧元区国家一般火爆。希腊(去年的赤字占到该国GDP的5.2%,债务占到GDP的108%,但是该国GDP的增长健康)公债收益率和意大利同种公债的收益率相同,而比葡萄牙(赤字占到该国GDP的6%,债务占到GDP的63%,在经历了缓慢的增长后,今年该国的经济增长会更有强劲)低10个基点。

One reason why bond yields are low across the euro area is that inflation is under control and expected to stay that way. But the market's failure to discriminate among euro-member bonds is striking nonetheless. Part of the explanation is that yields in general, including those on emerging-market debt are low, leaving little room to separate borrowers. Another reason, however, is the creation of the euro itself. In the years leading up to the currency's birth, investors came to realise that the risk of devaluation was evaporating. As a result, the spread (or premium) they demand to compensate them for this risk tumbled (see left-hand chart). It also helps that the European Central Bank (ECB) accepts members' sovereign bonds as collateral on even terms—provided they retain a credit rating of A- or above. And though the ECB insists it will not rescue governments from the consequences of their fiscal folly, markets may believe otherwise, calculating that if a country looked like defaulting it would be bailed out somehow. The upshot is that now one government's debt looks much like any other's.
  整个欧元区债券收益率偏低的一个原因是通货膨胀得到了控制,而且预计还会以这种方式继续保持。由于包括新兴市场在内的债务收益普遍偏低,这使得借款人可选择的余地不大,因此这能部分解释市场难以区别对待各欧元区成员国债券的这一突出情况。另一个原因则在于欧元本身的设计,多年来对欧元诞生所做的准备,使得投资者们早已认识到欧元不存在贬值风险。这么一来,补偿投资者风险的价差(或溢价)就下降了(参见图左)。因此各国的债信评级都保持在A-级或以上,这也有助于欧洲央行(ECB)接受各成员国以主权债券(sovereign bond)作为抵押。此外,虽然ECB一再坚持不会为各成员国政府愚蠢的财政行为买单,但是市场似乎并不以为然,如果真有某国无力偿债,ECB慎重起见也会以某种方式给与帮助。其结果是现在任意一国的债务和其他成员国都十分相似。




Cheaper borrowing gives governments little incentive to tighten their belts. Granted, before the currency was created, governments strove to cut their deficits to 3% of GDP and to lower their debt towards 60%, the ceiling for new members. Now a stability and growth pact is supposed to keep deficits and debts down. Portugal is trying hard to cut spending, but big countries have done much as they please. Last year four members had deficits in excess of 3% of GDP; another's was 2.9%. Seven have debt ratios of more than 60% (see right-hand chart).
  低息借款使得各国政府无心勒紧裤带过日子。事实上,在欧元诞生之前,各国政府要努力使其赤字占GDP的比重降到3%,使其债务对GDP的比例降到60%以下,以使其降到成为欧元新成员国所要求的最高上限以内。因此,现在《稳定与增长公约》应当是使各国持续减少赤字和债务的重要依据。虽然葡萄牙正试图削减开支,但其他大国却肆意为所欲为。去年就有4个成员国的赤字水平超过了GDP的3%,还有一个国家是2.9%;另还有7国的债务对GDP比例超过了60%(参见图右)。

Arbitrary limits on government finances make little sense. But pact or no pact, Italy and others need to put their finances straight and raise their growth rates. Indeed, the two problems are linked. To the extent that slow growth hurts tax revenues, and thus the ability to service public debt, markets may begin to take a less benign view of slow growers' bonds. And the greater the debt, the more damage a change in market mood can do.
  其实严格限制各成员国政府的财政并没有多大意义,但不论公约的存在与否,意大利和其他成员国也应减少其财政负债率,并增加其经济增长率。实际上,这两个问题是相互关联的,缓慢的经济增长会影响税收收入,从而使得偿还国债的能力受损,因而市场开始不看好经济增长缓慢国家的债券。此外,债务负担愈沉重,那么市场气氛变化所引起的破坏力也就愈大。

The bad news, and the bad news
坏消息,还是坏消息

Unfortunately, there is no easy way out. In a currency union, with devaluation ruled out, there are only two ways of reducing unit labour costs relative to those of other members. One is to put up with lower wage growth than the rest. This is possible—low wage growth has given Germany a route out of trouble after a miserable few years—but painful. Workers do not accept small wage increases, let alone cuts, easily; and slow wage growth adds little to domestic demand. The other option is to raise the rate of productivity growth, which looks no easier. Both Italy and Portugal have had poor productivity records, although the microeconomic reforms proposed by Italy's newish government are steps in the right direction. And businesses in these countries are not only competing against well-heeled Germans. They are also going head-to-head with Asians and central Europeans.
  不幸的是,要解决这些问题并没有捷径。除了货币贬值以外,只有两种方法能在货币联盟范围内减少本国对其他成员国的单位劳力成本。其一是能容忍本国相对其他国家而言的较低工资增长。该方法虽然可行,却比较痛苦——在经历了悲惨的几年后,低工资增长才使德国走出了困境。雇员连小幅加薪都不会接受,更别提减薪了。何况缓慢的工资增长还会降低国内需求的增幅。另一种选择则是提升生产率的增长,但这个看起来也是困难重重,虽然看似全新的意大利政府提出的微观经济改革正使其向正确的方向发展,但要知道意大利和葡萄牙都有着低生产率记录,何况这些国家的企业不仅仅是和富有的德国企业展开竞争,他们还将面临着同来自亚洲和中欧的企业展开激战。


To salvage the public finances at the same time as restraining wages or pursuing microeconomic reform may seem to be asking too much. After all, it is at just such times that domestic demand could do with support from the state. But as Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi, two Italian economists, have argued, budgetary tightening, as long as it is based on spending cuts rather than higher taxes, may even boost demand, because citizens expect to have lower tax bills in the future. This seems to have been the experience of Ireland and Denmark in the 1980s.
  似乎在要求意大利拯救其财政问题的同时,要求其限制工资涨幅或推行微观经济改革都有些过分。毕竟目前该国的消费差不多都来自于国内需求。但如意大利的两名经济学家艾尔波托•艾莱斯那(Alberto Alesina)和弗朗西斯科•克吉亚瓦兹(Francesco Giavazzi)所说,只要是基于削减支出而非加税的紧缩预算有可能会使消费需求激增,这是因为国民对未来的低税率报有期望,而这也似乎正是上世纪80年代爱尔兰和丹麦的经验。

Not everyone thinks as ill of Italy as the agencies. Eric Chaney, of Morgan Stanley, argues that Italian businesses are better placed than most commentators think. Even so, the spendthrift cannot afford to wait for economic growth to pull their debt burdens down. Should the markets show a little discrimination and discernment, and demand more interest for their money, life in the euro zone may become much less comfortable.
  不是所有人都和两大评级机构一样认为意大利的财政有问题。摩根斯坦利(Morgan Stanley)的埃里克•钱尼(Eric Chaney)就认为,意大利企业所处的状况要比大多数评论家所认为的要好。但即便如此,这个大手惯了的国家等不及用经济增长来减轻债务负担了。如果市场再显示出少许的鉴别力和洞察力,如果提升利率的呼声再高一些,那么在欧元区的生活将变得更糟。
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发表于 2010-4-29 02:50 | 显示全部楼层
今天抽空回老宅,匆忙之中总算是赶出来了,来不及仔细检查,若有错误还望各位及时指正~谢谢了!
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:00 | 显示全部楼层
几点建议以供参考:
1.Hard currency, tight spot 处在风口浪尖的欧元
这个标题我觉得不是这个意思:Hard curreny,它是讲欧元对意大利来讲是比较刚硬的,意大利对欧元无计可施(也就是不可能采取贬值措施)。 Tight spot,指的是意大利处于紧要关头吧。所以翻译成“处在风口浪尖的欧元”感觉不是很适合。


2.Alas, two top rating agencies think his best won't do. 唉,连世界两大顶级评级机构都认为他最好不要这么做。
his best won't do. 即使他使出浑身解数也无法成功。
我觉得好像是这个意思。

3.But Standard & Poor's and Fitch say Mr Padoa-Schioppa's recent budget does too little
标准普尔和惠誉仍然认为派多亚夏欧帕先生最近公布的预算还是太少
我觉得“标准普尔和惠誉仍然认为派多亚夏欧帕先生最近公布的预算计划起不到什么作用。”会更好一些。

4.As a result, the spread (or premium) they demand to compensate them for this risk tumbled (see left-hand chart).
这么一来,风险的骤降都被投资者需求的蔓延(或溢价)所抵消了。
这个我觉得是说:由于欧元没有贬值的风险,市场对债券的收益率要求也就不那么高了。(风险和收益率成正比,风险低,收益率自然也低)。

5. It also helps that the European Central Bank (ECB) accepts members' sovereign bonds as collateral on even terms—provided they retain a credit rating of A- or above.
这也同样推动了欧洲央行(ECB)接受各成员国的主权债券(sovereign bond)作为抵押,并规定各国的债信评级要保持在A-级或以上。

"并规定各国的债信评级要保持在A-级或以上。"应该是指“考虑到市场对主权债券的评级都在A-级或以上,欧洲央行(ECB)接受各成员国的主权债券(sovereign bond)作为抵押”。这句话也是承接上句话来的,因为欧元没有贬值的风险,所以欧洲各国的债券评级都比较高。

6.To the extent that slow growth hurts tax revenues, and thus the ability to service public debt, markets may begin to take a less benign view of slow growers' bonds.
缓慢的经济增长会税收收入锐减,因而国债利率的提升使得市场开始不看好低息债券。

这里"hurt"不能说是使税收收入锐减,只能说影响税收收入(使得税收收入增长的比较慢而已)。另外,hurt其实有两个宾语,一个是税收收入,另外一个是偿还国债的能力(税收收入增长太慢,市场对政府偿还国债的能力会有所怀疑),而不是指“国债利率的提升”。Slow growe's bonds指的应是经济增长缓慢的国家的债券,不是指低息债券。

7.This is possible—low wage growth has given Germany a route out of trouble after a miserable few years—but painful.
该方法除了痛苦之外还是个问题——在经历了悲惨的几年后,低工资增长给德国带来了一系列麻烦。

“低工资增长给德国带来了一系列麻烦”,应该不是指给德国带来麻烦,我觉得应该是使德国摆脱麻烦。至于后面的雇员不愿意接受工资增长过于缓慢,应该是描述“a miserable few years—but painful.”这几年发生的事情。

8. After all, it is at just such times that domestic demand could do with support from the state.
毕竟该国正处于一个国内需求仅能消费国内供给的时刻。

这个应该是指:国内需求仅仅通过国内支撑。(作者估计是说,意大利的出口需求不大)。所以,这段话是讲增长财政收入,降低工资增长的幅度和提高生产率不可能同时取得。因为,工资增长降低,导致国内需求增长不快(因为出口需求不大,需求只来自国内),财政收入增长不快。

9.Should the markets show a little discrimination and discernment, and demand more interest for their money, life in the euro zone may become much less comfortable.
如果市场显示出少许的鉴别力和洞察力,而且需求对资金更为感兴趣,那么在欧元区的生活将变得更糟。

demanad more interest:应该是指要求更高的利率吧。因为前文在讲,意大利属于欧元区,所以它也享受国债利率比较低的好处,如果市场可以区分欧元区不同国家的国债,那么显然会对财政状况的国家要求更高的利率,因为贷款给这些国家面临更大的风险。
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:10 | 显示全部楼层
恩 十分感谢windspeaker的批评意见,昨天翻译的很急,很多地方没有认真看,而且没有认真研究相关资料。看来随手翻译的水平还是很烂的。您的意见非常中肯,先全盘收下了,待有时间再仔细研究下。~唉,现在上个网就像打仗一样,郁闷...
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:20 | 显示全部楼层
刚才边改边琢磨了下,根据相关背景资料,对于windspeaker所提的2、3、4点存疑,也许还是我对资料的理解不够深刻,或许存在误解。因此标记出来,请大家再作评点。

同时还对第7点的表达觉得不够准确,一并标记出来~
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:30 | 显示全部楼层
哈哈哈 我是站着说话不腰疼。。。我自己翻译出的问题肯定更多。。。总之大家互相切蹉,共同进步喽
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:40 | 显示全部楼层
1,        第一段,They think it relies too much on raising taxes and not enough on cutting spending, which economists say is a surer path to lasting fiscal sobriety他们还称赤字的削减很大程度上是依赖于税收的增加,而不是开销的减少,而这正是经济学家们所宣扬的一条通往维持财政稳定的光明大道。
感觉这一句存在理解上的问题。改为如下:他们认为其对赤字的削减对增税的依赖太强,而对减支的依赖则不足。而增税或者减支都是经济学家所宣扬的通往财政持续稳定的光明大道。
楼主觉得如何?
They are less optimistic than the minister about how much a crackdown on tax evasion can bring in他们对派多亚夏欧帕因打击逃税而能带来的财政收入的增加也不抱乐观
注意一下该句的结构。less optimistic是they和minister之间作的比较,about引出是关于什么的比较。这样解释是不是能看的更清楚一些?再帮我翻译出来吧,呵呵。
sovereign debt主权债务,好象楼主没翻译出来。
2,        第二段,Its recent growth rate has been pathetic—it may manage 1.5% this year, after four years below 1%—as its companies have struggled to keep pace with competitors elsewhere in the euro zone: unit labour costs, relative to Germany's, have risen by more than 20% since 2000最近几年意大利的经济增长十分惨淡——在4年低于1%的增长率后,今年才有望勉强达到1.5%——这是因为自2000年以来意大利的单位劳力成本较德国上升了20%,因此该国的企业不得不为跟上欧元区其他竞争者的步伐而苦苦挣扎。
这一句看起来很麻烦,但是这个时候不要乱,看清楚它的主干:Its recent growth rate has been pathetic as its companies have struggled to keep pace with competitors elsewhere in the euro zone意大利最近的增长率一直显得很惨淡,与此同时它的公司也在为跟上欧元区其他的竞争者的步伐而苦苦挣扎。
破折号的部分以及冒号的部分,我们可以把它们拉出来处理。
it may manage 1.5% this year, after four years below 1%。在连续4年低于1%以后,增长率今年有望达到1.5%。
unit labour costs, relative to Germany's, have risen by more than 20% since 2000而单位劳动力成本,相对于德国而言,自2000年以来已经上升了20%以上。
这样的处理是不是好一点呢?呵呵
An obvious (if temporary) solution, devaluation, is not possible within a currency union. 而要解决这些问题,一个效果显著的(也许是暂时的)手段就是使货币贬值,然而在货币联盟之中却又不可能这么做。
这一句加的词太多了,显得有些累赘,想点办法瘦身吧,呵呵
3,        第三段,Precisely because it is a member of the single-currency club, Italy has, considering the state of its books and businesses, been remarkably well regarded by the bond markets正因为意大利是单一货币俱乐部的一员,所以该国的订单和生意才会被债券市场非常地看好
我的理解是,确切地说正是因为人们在考虑到它的资产和企业状况时想到它是单一货币俱乐部的一员,意大利才一直为债券市场非常看好。
这样理解是不是更好一点?
4,        第四段,As a result, the spread (or premium) they demand to compensate them for this risk tumbled (see left-hand chart) 这么一来,风险的骤降都被投资者需求的蔓延(或溢价)所抵消了
这个句子怎么看的?主语是什么?是the spread (or premium),谓语是什么?是tumbled,they demand to compensate them for this risk只是用来修饰主语的。给我重新翻一遍吧。
5,        第七段,One is to put up with lower wage growth than the rest一是能容忍本国较低的工资增长率带来的种种后果
其中之一是容忍相对其他国家而言较低的工资增长。
This is possible,没翻译出来
6,        第八段,To salvage the public finances at the same time as restraining wages or pursuing microeconomic reform may seem to be asking too much. 似乎要求意大利同时限制工资和推行微观经济改革以拯救财政问题有些过分
看清楚结构,一边我要做的是拯救财政,另一边我要干的要么是限制工资要么是推行微观经济的改革。你再好好看看,然后给我再翻译出来好吗?
7,        第九段,Not everyone thinks as ill of Italy as the agencies没有人和两大评级机构一样认为意大利的财政有问题
Not everyone就是没有人?
加上windspeaker的2,3两点。
你自己再好好想想,尤其是自己要注意的地方。其他的我觉得理解上都没什么太大问题。百忙之中还能抽空把作业交了,不容易呀,呵呵。好好努力吧!
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发表于 2010-4-29 03:50 | 显示全部楼层
看得我出了一身冷汗...認真學習,好好改造~
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发表于 2010-4-29 04:00 | 显示全部楼层
结合了wind 和 flora的指正意见,修订了一下,现在重新发布:)
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