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英国脱欧对创业有何影响?负面居多

脱欧造成了极大的“不确定性”,这对创来者来说不是个好消息。

 
 

上月28日,英国人用投票表达了对欧盟的不满,也向英国政客声明,他们已经受够了只顾争名夺利不管人民疾苦的行径。本次公投给整个世界带来了冲击,金融市场上市值下跌了数万亿美元,英镑和欧元兑美元的汇率急剧下跌。

有一点很重要,就是本次公投没有约束力,并不能迫使政客们执行关键的《里斯本条约》第50条,即触发该条款的欧盟成员国可以启动脱欧谈判。到目前为止,这项条文还从未用过。退欧谈判耗时两年,而且要详细梳理并调整约8万页法律条文才能走完流程。唯一完成这一壮举的国家是格陵兰,但格陵兰只有5万人口,而且唯一的产业是捕鱼。

从美国企业家和小企业主的角度观察,英国脱欧似乎很远。但当今世界越发一体化,大洋彼岸的变动无疑会波及美国本土。

考虑英国脱欧的影响时,首先想到的词就是“不确定性”,一般来说对企业不利。我们不知道英国到底会不会脱欧,也不知道经济最终会受到什么样的影响。脱欧很可能会导致英国陷入衰退,但美国会受连累吗?如今所有企业负责人都在这么问,媒体上也在连篇累牍重复某些观察人士的分析判断。人们得到的信息越多,就越没有头绪。

几乎可以肯定,不确定性会冻结许多开支项目。这种时候谁还愿意花钱呢?招聘速度将放慢,拟议项目都会搁置,因为企业在扩张方面会犹豫。由此引发的连锁反应会波及诸多行业。大公司会率先采取行动,小一些的公司只能根据经济放缓的状况被动调整,特别是被大企业收购的小公司。

受英国脱欧带来的主权问题影响,货币也将成为一件麻烦事。如果是主营出口业务的公司,遇到的问题和造成2015年经济放缓时一样。随着全球局势持续不明朗,美元极有可能兑其他货币全面升值,不光是英镑和欧元。这种“避风港”效应对于在海外销售产品的美国公司来说是把双刃剑。在世界其他地区,人们能买的东西变少了,因为当地经济衰退或滑坡;但当他们用本国货币购买美国产品,兑换后美国公司能收到的美元也会缩水。

不过,并非全是坏事,不确定性必然伴随着机遇。美元升值对美国本地公司而言就是挺好,意味着对普通美国消费者来说进口商品变便宜了。企业成本也有望下降,因为燃料成本会继续处于低点,许多商品的原材料和劳动力也会降价,尤其是要从海外进口的。

对小公司和企业家来说,另一项潜在意外收获是低利率周期的延续。为了近10年来首次提升利率,珍妮特·耶伦和美联储简直拼尽全力。然而英国脱欧等政治不稳定因素让他们别无选择,只能偃旗息鼓。但对企业来说可能是件好事,因为企业可以继续按处于历史低点的利率为资产和实现增长融资或再融资。随着企业活动举债的成本低得离谱,而且还在下降,投资回报率也会走低。

总体而言,如果在政治领域没有既得利益,英国脱欧不是什么好事。脱欧只会在当今动荡的世界上导致更多的不确定性,这是企业最不想见到的。随着英国脱欧的具体方案及时间表逐渐确定,会有一段时间面临波动,只能忍耐。但正如公司所有者和企业家所知,英国退出欧盟并非世界末日。最终会出现一套新规则要适应,越能灵活应对的企业成功机会就越大。 (财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

British people last Thursday took to the polls to pronounce their vitriol toward the European Union and announce to their politicians that they were tired of interests, other than that of their own people, being represented. The referendum sent shockwaves across the entire world as financial markets lost trillions in market capitalization and currencies such as the British Pound and Euro fell sharply against the dollar.

It’s important to point out that the referendum is not a binding event that forces politicians to invoke the all-important — and to this point never used — Article 50. That’s the clause that allows a European Union member to begin the process of negotiating out of member status. It’s a two-year process with some 80,000 pages of law that must be painstakingly combed through and adjusted before the exit is complete. The only other country to navigate through this massive undertaking was Greenland, a country with only 50,000 people and one industry: fishing.

Viewed through the lens of American entrepreneurs and small-business owners, Brexit may seem far away, but with an increasingly globalized world, the ripple effects from across the pond will undoubtedly have an impact here at home.

As we examine Brexit’s effect, the first word that comes to mind is “uncertainty” — and that’s generally negative for business. Not only do we not know if it will even come to pass, but we don’t know what the eventual underpinnings in the economy will be. It is almost sure to send the U.K. into some sort of recession, but will it bleed into the U.S.? That’s a question that every business leader is asking themselves today as countless articles regurgitate what some observers think the outcomes will be. The more information they gather, the more unsure they become.

This uncertainty will almost surely bring about a freeze in many spending projects. Who wants to shell out money at a time like this? Hiring will slow down and any projects that were planned will be put on hold as businesses hesitate to extend themselves. This will have a ripple effect throughout the ranks of many businesses as the big boys start the process and smaller businesses are left to adjust to the slowdown, especially those small businesses that sell to larger companies.

Because of the sovereignty issues with Brexit, currencies will also be an issue. If a company is an exporter of goods, they will continue to have the same sort of problems that caused slowdowns in 2015. The dollar will more than likely strengthen vs. all currencies — not just the pound and euro — as global uncertainty persists. This “safe haven” effect causes American companies selling things abroad to get hit by a double-edged sword. Not only are people in the rest of the world able to buy less because of recession or slowdown in their own country, but the currency they are giving in exchange for the product is worth less to a U.S. company converting it into a dollar.

However, the news is not all bad, as always with uncertainty there is always opportunity. A strong dollar is good especially for domestic companies. It means that goods, especially those imported from overseas, cost less for the typical American consumer. This works out for businesses since fuel costs should continue to stay low and many materials and labor that are used in making products, which typically come from abroad, will fall.

Another potential windfall for small businesses and entrepreneurs is the continuation of a low-interest rate cycle. Janet Yellen and the Fed were trying oh so hard to get interest rates up off the mat for the first time in nearly 10 years, but political instability like this gives them no choice but to go back into hiding. This is a potential boon for businesses because they get to continue financing or refinancing assets and growth on historic low rates. This causes hurdle rates for return on investment to be lower as debt to finance the activities is absurdly cheap and getting cheaper.

All things considered, Brexit isn’t a great thing to outsiders who have no vested interest in the political realm. It’s another thing in a long line of instances that creates more uncertainty, which is the worst thing a business can encounter. There is sure to be periods of volatility and duress as we continue to find out more and more about the exact plan and timing of the Brexit. But as business owners and entrepreneurs know, the world won’t end with a British exit from the EU. Businesses will eventually adapt to a different set of rules and the most flexible ones will see the most success.

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