HONG KONG — China is signaling that it is worried about its economy.
香港——中国正在发出信号,表明它担心自己的经济问题。
Troubled by slowing growth, persistent debt problems and President Trump’s trade war, the Chinese government has taken steps in recent months to shore up its economy. It has pared back a high-profile campaign to tackle debt. It has restarted big infrastructure projects, a traditional economic engine. It has even censored bad economic news.
受到增长放缓、持续的债务问题以及特朗普总统贸易战的困扰,中国政府近几个月已采取措施巩固经济。它削减了一个解决债务问题的高调运动;还重启了大型基础设施项目,这是传统的经济引擎;甚至对负面的经济新闻进行审查。
On Sunday, Beijing went one step further.
周日,北京又向前迈进了一步。
The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, pulled a financial lever that will effectively pump $174 billion into the economy. The government is aiming to help small and midsize businesses in particular, which have had trouble obtaining loans and face other rising pressures.
其央行中国人民银行拉动了一个金融杠杆,将有效地为经济注入1740亿美元。政府的目标是特别帮助中小型企业,它们难以获得贷款,并面临其他不断增长的压力。
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The move signals that China’s economy “is really not doing well,” Chen Shouhong, the founder of the investment information platform Gelonghui, wrote on WeChat, a popular Chinese social media service.
投资信息平台格隆汇的创始人陈守红在中国社交媒体服务微信上写道,此举表明中国经济“的确不太好”。
The growing trade war with the United States has been the most visible threat. In September, the United States imposed tariffs on $200 billion in goods from China. President Trump has shown little inclination to back off and relations between the two countries have cooled, suggesting the trade war could worsen before it gets better.
与美国日益加剧的贸易战是最明显的威胁。9月,美国对来自中国的2000亿美元商品征收关税。特朗普总统几乎没有退缩的意思,两国关系已经降温,表明贸易战好转之前可能还会进一步恶化。
So far, the trade war has had only a minor impact on China’s $12 trillion economy. Trade isn’t as important to China as it once was, thanks in part to the rise of a middle class that has been a ready buyer of Chinese goods at home. Still, tariffs could hurt the economy the longer they last. In September, new export orders — one indicator of China’s manufacturing — fell to the lowest level since 2016.
到目前为止,贸易战对中国价值12万亿美元的经济影响甚微。对中国而言,贸易并不像以前那么重要,部分原因在于其中产阶级的崛起,他们在国内是中国商品的现成买家。然而,关税持续的时间越长,就越可能影响到经济。9月份,新增出口订单——中国制造业的一个指标——降至2016年以来的最低水平。
But China has bigger problems than the trade war.
但中国还有比贸易战更大的问题。
Consumers are spending less. Retail sales this year have grown at the slowest rate in a decade. Wage growth is plodding. Infrastructure investment — a pillar of the Chinese economy — slowed significantly in the first half of the year. The pace at which companies are defaulting on their bonds has quickened.
消费者的支出减少了。今年的零售额增长速度是10年来最慢的。工资增长缓慢。基础设施投资——中国经济的支柱——在今年上半年显著放缓。公司债券违约的步伐加快了。
China also has to contend with a stock market that has fallen by around 15 percent this year and a currency that has lost 10 percent of its value against the dollar. Some Chinese entrepreneurs also say the business environment is souring. The government could soon require companies to pay more in taxes and benefits.
中国还必须应对股市今年已下跌约15%,人民币兑美元汇率已下跌10%的局面。一些中国企业家也表示,商业环境正在恶化。政府可能很快要求公司支付更多的税收和福利。
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Government officials in recent months have scurried to counter the broader economic slowdown. They pledged to pump billions of dollars into infrastructure projects, shored up the value of the currency and moved to backstop the falling stock market.
近几个月来,政府官员急于应对整体经济的放缓。他们承诺向基础设施项目注入数十亿美元,支撑人民币币值,并开始支持下跌的股市
China has used these methods for years to spur growth, but they represent a retreat from more recent government efforts to pare back debt. China unleashed a wave of spending and lending beginning a decade ago that rescued its economy from the global economic downturn but left many of its companies and local governments heavily burdened with debt. Economists have warned that China must address its debt problems if it hopes to keep its economy humming.
中国多年来一直靠这些方法来刺激经济增长,但它们代表了政府从近期削减债务的努力中退却。十年前,中国引发了一波支出和贷款浪潮,将自己从全球经济衰退中解救出来,但让许多公司和地方政府承受了沉重的债务负担。经济学家警告,如果中国希望保持经济活跃,就必须解决债务问题
Beijing appeared to be listening. Earlier this year Liu He, a trusted economic adviser to Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, promised to rein in China’s debt over the next three years. Mr. Liu’s appointment in March as vice premier overseeing financial and industrial policy was seen as a commitment by Chinese officials to crack down on lending.
北京似乎听取了警告。今年早些时候,备受全国最高领导人习近平信赖的经济顾问刘鹤承诺,在未来三年内控制中国的债务。刘鹤于3月被任命为监管金融和产业政策的副总理,这被视为中国官员对打击贷款的承诺。
Now, Beijing has changed its tune. In August, the People’s Bank of China said it would ensure that money flowed from its state-controlled banking sector to companies that needed it, in particular exporters and small and medium enterprises. The National Development and Reform Commission also flagged concerns about the financing difficulties of private companies in June.
现在,北京改变了态度。8月,中国人民银行表示,将确保资金从国有银行部门流向需要它的公司,特别是出口商和中小企业。国家发展和改革委员会也在6月份对民营企业的融资困难表示担忧
The government has promoted rail and other infrastructure projects that were previously stalled or blocked because of concerns about ballooning debt.
由于对债务膨胀的担忧,政府推动了以前停滞或受阻的铁路和其他基础设施项目。
If it wasn’t clear before last week that Chinese officials were concerned about a slowing economy, a move by the government on Sept. 28 to censor negative economic news made it clear. Among the items on a list of forbidden topics on a government directive sent to journalists in China were any economic data that showed a slowing economy, local government debt and risks, and signs of declining consumer confidence.
如果在上周之前,中国官员对经济放缓的担忧并不清晰,那么政府9月28日采取行动审查负面经济新闻证实了这一点。一份向中国记者发送的政府指令中,规定了禁止报道的选题,其中包括任何显示经济放缓的经济数据、地方政府的债务和风险,以及消费者信心下降的迹象。
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On Sunday, the People’s Bank of China said that it would cut the amount of money that some lenders are required to hold in reserve — called the reserve ratio — by one percentage point. The move essentially frees up more money for China’s state-controlled banks to lend out.
周日,中国人民银行表示,它将把贷方需要储备的资金(名为准备金率)下调一个百分点。这一举措实质上为中国国有银行放贷释放了更多资金。
About $65 billion of that cash injection will be directed to banks to repay debts that are due in coming weeks, while the rest will be pushed into the financial market.
大约650亿美元将直接注入银行,用于偿还未来几周到期的债务,其余资金将投入金融市场。
The central bank made the move to ensure “reasonable and sufficient liquidity” in China’s economy, it said. This is the fourth time this year that the central bank has cut the reserve ratio.
央行称,此举是为了确保经济“合理充足的流动性”。这是央行今年第四次下调存款准备金率。
But this time, the reserve ratio cut, which is set to go into effect on Oct. 15, was unusually big and broad. While the central bank cut the reserve ratio by a similar amount earlier this year, it put more conditions on how banks could use the extra money. The bank has shied away from making such stark moves in recent years, as it has found more subtle ways to adjust the amount of money in China’s financial system depending on its needs.
但这一次,将于10月15日生效的准备金率下调幅度大得非同寻常。虽然央行在今年早些时候将存款准备金率下调了相似的幅度,但它对银行如何使用额外资金提出了更多条件。近年来,央行避免采取如此狠招,因为它已经找到了更微妙的方法,根据需要调整中国金融体系的资金数额。
The announcement on Sunday suggests the central bank felt it had to do more than that. The size and breadth of the move, wrote Mr. Chen, the Gelonghui founder, shows “there are fewer and fewer tools in the P.B.O.C. toolbox.”
周日的公告表明,央行认为必须采取更多行动。格隆汇创始人陈守红写道,此举的规模和广度表明“中国人民银行工具箱里的工具越来越少”。
The move was in direct response to the slowing growth, Zhang Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said on Sunday. Mr. Zhang predicted that China’s third-quarter gross domestic product would drop to 6.6 percent growth compared with 6.8 percent a year ago and that its fourth-quarter figure could be as low as 6.4 percent. China posted economic growth of 6.7 percent in the quarter that ended in June, though China’s official figures are widely doubted.
中国社会科学院研究员张明于周日表示,此举是对增长放缓的直接反应。张明预测,中国第三季度国内生产总值将回落至6.6%,而一年前为6.8%;第四季度的数据可能低至6.4%。尽管中国的官方数据受到广泛质疑,但在6月结束的那个季度,中国经济增长率为6.7%。
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“Sino-U.S. trade frictions will further reduce the contribution of imports and exports to economy growth,” Mr. Zhang, who is also chief economist at Ping An Securities, wrote on WeChat.
“中美贸易摩擦的加深将会进一步削弱进出口部门对经济增长的贡献,”同时也是平安证券首席经济学家的张明在微信上写道。
“If export growth slows down due to trade frictions, it will influence manufacturing investment growth,” he added.
“一旦出口增速由于贸易摩擦的影响有所回落,这将会影响制造业投资增速。”他接着写道。