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姜国华:理解中国股市的逻辑

北京大学光华管理学院会计学副教授、博士生导师

 
 
 

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北京大学光华管理学院会计学教授、博士生导师、美国加利福尼亚大学伯克利分校哈斯商学院博士。著有《财务报表分析与证券投资》 博时基金高级投资顾问、毕马威会计师公司全球估值顾问

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股市点评:经济探底不等于经济复苏  

2009-04-03 16:15:35|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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全球的经济救市活动愈演愈烈,中国投资者情绪不断高涨。但是,别忘了,经济探底了不等于经济要复苏。
 
探底了的经济以后可能是V型,也可能是L型。而我们的投资者表现出对V型的坚定信心,所以如果1季度数据出来表明经济稳定了,看样子股市又要飙升了。慎重。
 
现在的全球经济就像一个人得了大病,奄奄一息,所以各国都在给经济打大剂量的抗生素;一剂不够再来一剂。现在我们就盼着抗生素发挥作用,别让经济死了。一旦看到病情有好转,我们就乐观起来。当然,避免了死亡比真死亡了要好得多,所以应该乐观,至少不用太担心了。但是,因此认为经济马上又要健康地、活蹦乱跳地发展起来就过于乐观了。
 
抗生素能把一个人从死亡的边缘挽救回来,但是不能使一个人健康起来。要健康起来,还要依靠培养良好的体质。但是大量使用抗生素恰恰破坏一个人的体质。
 
下面克鲁格曼的文章有一定的启示。世界经济正在发生根本的变化。
 
美国人不会再像以前那样不存钱、光花钱了;我国也不会再把外汇储备绝大部分都放到美元资产上了。这意味着美国的消费将大幅度下降,中国的出口也大幅度下降。经济即使探底了,复苏也需要一段时间。我国经济再想像前几年那样高速运转起来必须有新的国家来购买我们的产品,填补这个出口的缺口。谁呢?一时想不起来。
 
或者靠内需,注意是终端内需,即要有最终消费者买东西。我们猜猜在当前的环境下,我国人民会是增加消费还是减少消费呢?靠投资拉动内需,如果终端内需更不上,对经济的提升作用有限。
 
 
纽约时报 April 3, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

China’s Dollar Trap

Back in the early stages of the financial crisis, wags jokedthat our trade with China had turned out to be fair and balancedafter all: They sold us poison toys and tainted seafood; we soldthem fraudulent securities.

 

But these days, both sides of that deal are breaking down. Onone side, the world’s appetite for Chinese goods has fallen offsharply. China’s exports have plunged in recent months and are nowdown 26 percent from a year ago. On the other side, the Chinese areevidently getting anxious about those securities.

 

But China still seems to have unrealistic expectations. Andthat’s a problem for all of us.

The big news last week was a speech by Zhou Xiaochuan, thegovernor of China’s central bank, calling for a new“super-sovereign reserve currency.”

 

The paranoid wing of the Republican Party promptly warned of adastardly plot to make America give up the dollar. But Mr. Zhou’sspeech was actually an admission of weakness. In effect, he wassaying that China had driven itself into a dollar trap, and that itcan neither get itself out nor change the policies that put it inthat trap in the first place.

 

Some background: In the early years of this decade, China beganrunning large trade surpluses and also began attracting substantialinflows of foreign capital. If China had had a floating exchangerate — like, say, Canada — this would have led to a rise in thevalue of its currency, which, in turn, would have slowed the growthof China’s exports.

 

But China chose instead to keep the value of the yuan in termsof the dollar more or less fixed. To do this, it had to buy updollars as they came flooding in. As the years went by, those tradesurpluses just kept growing — and so did China’s hoard of foreignassets.

Now the joke about fraudulent securities was actually unfair.Aside from a late, ill-considered plunge into equities (at the verytop of the market), the Chinese mainly accumulated very safeassets, with U.S. Treasury bills“; T-bills, for short — making up alarge part of the total. But while T-bills are as safe from defaultas anything on the planet, they yield a very low rate ofreturn.

 

Was there a deep strategy behind this vast accumulation oflow-yielding assets? Probably not. China acquired its $2 trillionstash — turning the People’s Republic into the T-bills Republic —the same way Britain acquired its empire: in a fit of absence ofmind.

And just the other day, it seems, China’s leaders woke up andrealized that they had a problem.

 

The low yield doesn’t seem to bother them much, even now. Butthey are, apparently, worried about the fact that around 70 percentof those assets are dollar-denominated, so any future fall in thedollar would mean a big capital loss for China. Hence Mr. Zhou’sproposal to move to a new reserve currency along the lines of theS.D.R.’s, or special drawing rights, in which the InternationalMonetary Fund keeps its accounts.

 

But there’s both less and more here than meets the eye. S.D.R.’saren’t real money. They’re accounting units whose value is set by abasket of dollars, euros, Japanese yen and British pounds. Andthere’s nothing to keep China from diversifying its reserves awayfrom the dollar, indeed from holding a reserve basket matching thecomposition of the S.D.R.’s — nothing, that is, except for the factthat China now owns so many dollars that it can’t sell them offwithout driving the dollar down and triggering the very capitalloss its leaders fear.

 

So what Mr. Zhou’s proposal actually amounts to is a plea thatsomeone rescue China from the consequences of its own investmentmistakes. That’s not going to happen.

And the call for some magical solution to the problem of China’sexcess of dollars suggests something else: that China’s leadershaven’t come to grips with the fact that the rules of the game havechanged in a fundamental way.

 

Two years ago, we lived in a world in which China could savemuch more than it invested and dispose of the excess savings inAmerica. That world is gone.

 

Yet the day after his new-reserve-currency speech, Mr. Zhou gaveanother speech in which he seemed to assert that China’s extremelyhigh savings rate is immutable, a result of Confucianism, whichvalues “anti-extravagance.” Meanwhile, “it is not the right time”for the United States to save more. In other words, let’s go on aswe were.

That’s also not going to happen.

 

The bottom line is that China hasn’t yet faced up to thewrenching changes that will be needed to deal with this globalcrisis. The same could, of course, be said of the Japanese, theEuropeans — and us.

 

And that failure to face up to new realities is the main reasonthat, despite some glimmers of good news — the G-20 summitaccomplished more than I thought it would — this crisis probablystill has years to run.

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