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投资理财

创可贴治不了欧洲债务之伤

Cyrus Sanati 2011年08月10日

只有通过切实可行的解决方案并取得实实在在的进展,才能恢复投资者的信心。尽管目前欧洲央行采取的措施在短期内有所帮助,但长期看来,无法帮助欧洲重回正轨。

让•克洛德•特里谢

    欧洲中央银行( European Central Bank)干预西班牙和意大利债务市场的措施,对于席卷整个欧洲大陆的危机来说并不是什么灵丹妙药。尽管这一措施使欧洲暂时远离了危险,但这只不过是权宜之计,目的是让欧元区各国政府有时间制定解决方案,应对日益严重的债务危机。欧元区核心成员国政府表示,他们将致力于维护货币联盟的团结,但德国的政治阻力和法国的经济问题(传言可能调低其债务评级),使欧洲很难拼凑出一套行之有效的长期解决方案,把欧洲从当前的债务危机泥潭中拯救出来。

    日前,欧洲央行决定在二级市场大量买进无人问津的意大利和西班牙债券,正式成为欧洲所有国家的最终贷款人。上周,由于担心这两个国家的国债可能出现违约,因此投资基金纷纷撤离,导致这两国国债收益率飙升。

    但欧洲央行的措施成功稳定了市场的情绪,在早间交易时,意大利和西班牙的国债收益率下降了70到80个基准点。欧洲央行称,这一措施只是权宜之计,并敦促欧元区各国政府协同行动,同意对欧洲金融稳定机构(EFSF)的改革方案,即允许这家去年成立的特殊目的公司在二级市场购买国债。

    欧元区各国政府已经原则上同意,允许EFSF进入二级市场,但救助基金扩张的授权必须获得每一个欧元区成员国议会的批准。而这可能需要数月时间——但欧洲根本等不了这么久。因此,欧洲央行的措施被认为是一种过渡性贷款,使成员国可以有足够的时间通过必要的改革议案。

    欧洲央行表示,在西班牙和意大利两国政府“通过新措施,并决定对财政和结构政策领域进行改革后”,欧洲央行最终决定干预西班牙和意大利市场。上周晚些时候,意大利政府表示,将加快执行计划中的预算措施,希望在2013年之前实现预算平衡,而西班牙则在其自治区内对预算进行了微调。欧洲央行认为,欧洲面临的麻烦是财政危机,而不是货币危机,除非这两国政府对预算进行大刀阔斧的改革,否则欧洲央行不会介入。

信心危机

    欧洲央行行长让•克洛德•特里谢做出如此巨大的承诺,实际上是在拿欧元区的未来赌博。欧洲央行无法一直支持西班牙和意大利的债务市场——因为他们的规模过于庞大。但特里谢却断言,这两个原先流动性正常的债务市场缺乏流动性只是临时现象,欧洲央行的措施将帮助这两个市场迅速将投资者吸引回来。日前,国债收益率的下降便表明市场已经趋于稳定,只是对市场的信心还需要重建。

    荷兰一家著名的资产管理公司的投资组合经理称:“市场并未陷入恐慌,只是市场情绪受到挫折而已。”该投资组合经理不愿透露自己的身份,因为他并未获得授权接受媒体采访。“欧洲央行的措施还不足以打消我们对市场安全性的疑虑,使我们安心地重返市场?目前采取的措施象征性意义更大,但市场需要实实在在的行动。”

    欧洲央行认为,如果欧元区各国政府最终能够投票通过扩大EFSF紧急救助基金的授权,并允许其在二级市场购买国债,那时候,就会有“实实在在的行动”。但为了保证效率,EFSF需要增加可用于该基金的资金数量。目前,EFSF的资金数量仅为4,400亿欧元。如果仅用于支撑希腊和葡萄牙的债务市场,这笔资金还算充足,但EFSF要想成为西班牙和意大利这些国家的最终贷款人,这点资金却只能算杯水车薪。例如,到明年年底,西班牙和意大利需要融资8,400亿欧元——几乎相当于整个基金的两倍。

    扩大基金的授权看来已经是板上钉钉,但扩大它的规模才是真正的难题。EFSF任何程度的扩大,首先都会对该基金背后的欧元区核心成员国的信用评级造成负面的影响。法国目前的财政状况危机重重,因此它将面临最大的风险。欧洲交易市场内部传言称,如果该基金规模扩大,法国将成为下一个丧失3A信用评级的国家。标准普尔公司(S&P)负责欧洲市场的首席经济学家在接受《回声报》(Les Echoes)采访时表示,法国的债务评级预期非常稳定,但当被问及今年12月份法国信用评级接受复核时是否会有所变化,他却闪烁其词。如果让法国在为EFSF出资和保持3A评级之间做出选择,它会如何抉择,目前尚无法确定。

    此外,德国对于扩大EFSF的规模似乎兴致不高。德国是上周投票反对欧洲央行进入二级市场的几个国家之一。EFSF任何程度的扩张,都需要德国的支持,但鉴于当前国内的政治局势,想获得德国的支持似乎不太可能。

    如果EFSF维持目前的规模,欧洲央行将不得不无限期地支撑意大利和西班牙债务市场。特里谢宣称不会出现那种结果,但EFSF如何扩大规模,目前还不明朗。只有通过真正行之有效的解决方案并取得实实在在的效果,才能重塑投资者的信心,而欧洲央行目前的措施在短期内或许会有所帮助,但长期来看,这项措施很难将欧洲带回正轨。

    (翻译 刘进龙)

    The European Central Bank's intervention in the Spanish and Italian debt markets is no panacea for the troubles rocking the continent. While the move has brought Europe back from the brink, it is only a temporary measure to allow eurozone governments to come up with a solution to its crushing debt crisis. The core eurozone governments say they are committed to keeping the monetary union together, but political resistance in Germany and economic troubles in France (with talk of a possible downgrade of its debt), will make it difficult for Europe to put together a viable long-term solution to dig itself out of its current debt crisis.

    The ECB officially became the lender of last resort to all of Europe this morning as it moved to buy up unwanted Italian and Spanish bonds in the secondary market. Concern that the two nations could default on their debt caused yields to skyrocket last week as investment funds stepped out of the market.

    But the ECB's actions successfully calmed the markets down, sending bond yields on the two nation's sovereign debt down a significant 70 to 80 basis points in early morning trading. The ECB said the measure was temporary and urged the eurozone governments to get their act together and pass changes to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which would allow the special purpose vehicle set up last year to buy bonds in the secondary market.

    Eurozone governments have already agreed in principal to allow the EFSF to enter the secondary markets, but the expansion of the rescue fund's mandate requires the approval of each of the eurozone's member parliaments. That would take months – time Europe did not have. The ECB's move is therefore being seen as a sort of bridge loan to allow time for the member countries to pass the necessary changes.

    The ECB said it finally intervened in the Spanish and Italian markets after the two governments "passed new measures and reforms in the areas of fiscal and structural policies." The Italians said late last week that they would accelerate proposed budget measures to meet a balanced budget by 2013, while the Spanish made some budgetary tweaks within its autonomous regions. The ECB views the troubles affecting Europe to be a fiscal crisis, not a monetary one, so it needed to see that the two nations were making significant changes to their budgets before intervening.

Crisis of confidence

    Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of the ECB, is effectively gambling with the eurozone's future by taking on this huge commitment. The central bank cannot continually support the debt markets of Spain and Italy forever - they are simply too big. But Trichet is betting that the lack of liquidity in these two normally liquid debt markets is just a temporary phenomenon, and that the ECB's actions would help bring investors back to the table in short order. The decrease in yields today is a sign that the market is calming down, but confidence remains in doubt.

    "There is no panic here, just frustration," says a portfolio manager at a leading Dutch asset manager, who wished to not be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the media. "The actions from the ECB are not enough to reassure us that it is safe to go back into the markets – today's move is more symbolic, real action is needed."

    The ECB believes that 'real action' will come when the eurozone government eventually votes to expand the mandate of the EFSF bailout fund to allow it to buy sovereign debt in the secondary markets. But to do that effectively, the EFSF will need to increase the amount of money it can spend in the fund. Right now it is locked at 440 billion euros. That might be enough to support the debt markets of Greece and Portugal, but it is not enough to be a lender of last resort to countries like Spain and Italy. For example, Spain and Italy need to raise 840 billion euros through the end of next year – almost double the entire fund's size.

    While expanding the fund's mandate seems to be a done deal, expanding its size is in real doubt. Any further increase in the EFSF could begin to negatively impact the credit ratings of the core members backing the fund. France is the most at risk given its precarious fiscal situation. There is talk on European trading desks today that it would be the next country to lose its triple-A credit rating if the fund expands. While S&P chief economist for Europe told Les Echoes that France's debt rating outlook was stable, he dodged any questions as to whether the country's rating might be changed when it is up for review in December. It is unclear what the French will do if they were given a choice between funding the EFSF or keeping their triple-A rating.

    Furthermore, Germany doesn't seem too keen on expanding the size of the EFSF. They were one of the few countries last week that voted against the ECB entering the secondary markets. Any expansion of the EFSF will need German backing and it appears unlikely to happen given the current political situation inside the country.

    If the EFSF stays small, the ECB will be forced to backstop the Italian and Spanish debt markets indefinitely. Trichet is betting it won't come to that point, but it is hard to see how the EFSF will be expanded at this point. Confidence will only return when investors see real progress toward a viable solution, and today's move by the ECB, while helpful in the short term, is not the long term solution needed to get Europe back on track.

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