订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

投资理财

假如美国违约,美元的下场会很难看

Nin-Hai Tseng 2013年10月17日

美国国会昨天终于达成了提高美国债务上限的协议,市场或许会平静下来。但如果未来美国出现违约,它不仅将给美国造成直接的经济损失,还会严重威胁到美元在全球的主导地位,进而影响到美国在全球经济中扮演的角色。

    美国国会的债务上限谈判取得了期盼已久的突破,达成协议的希望越来越大了。协议达成后,美国将能够提高债务上限并结束长达两周的政府关门。虽然在美国财政部即将耗尽其举债限额的前几天,美国有望侥幸躲过违约的厄运,但这或许也只能为美国提供一个短暂的喘息机会。

    据《华盛顿邮报》(Washington Post)报道,美国参议院共和党核心议员将于周二上午11点召开会议,审议已成形的协议。如果最终达成协议,美国财政部的举债能力将延期至明年2月7日,美国政府也将重新开门。此外,它还能在1月中旬前为联邦机构提供资金。几个月之后,如果国会因债务上限再度陷入僵局,那也不足为奇。只不过下一次美国的运气可能没这么好了,至于为什么会这么说,看看最新的这次债务上限谈判就很清楚了。

    与2011年标普(Standard & Poor's)调降美国AAA级信用评级时的政治僵局不同,这一次部分议员(尤其是共和党议员)一直对此漠不关心。

    他们一直在淡化触及债务上限的严重性。肯塔基州参议员兰德保罗表示,美国可以专门预留资金来偿付债券持有人,从而避免违约。这种说法乍一听有点道理,但实际上意味着其他政府支出就没有保障了,包括向社保金领取者的付款。这种情况很恐怖,因为要维持良好的财务状况,靠不付账单显然行不通。

    对美国政府来说,逃避财务义务将对美元造成非常严重的影响。

    加州大学经济学家巴里•艾肯格林在博客网站Project Syndicate上发表了一篇文章,讨论了全球储备货币美元违约会产生的影响,即:美元大幅贬值以及金融机构严重亏损。

    艾肯格林说:“即使美国财政部优先偿付债券持有人,也就是选择先把承包商和社保金领取者晾在一旁,美国国债投资者也不再会理所当然地认为美国政府肯定会还钱的,他们会认真考虑了。”

    事实上,各国中央银行已经对全球最富有的国家美国失去信心了,他们正在采取预备措施,防范美国会像部分人士担心的那样随时违约。美元一旦下跌,影响会波及全球,小国货币的汇率将纷纷出现暴涨。同时,新兴市场经济体也将受到打击,因为韩元和墨西哥比索等新兴市场货币会大幅升值,导致它们出口海外的商品价格更贵,竞争力更低。

    后果听起来十分严重,但华盛顿的某些政客对此并不买账,这也不难理解。次债危机发生后,市场普遍预计美元会大跌,但实际上根本没跌。艾肯格林表示,随着投资者疯狂买入美国国债避险,结果美元倒还出现了上涨。一年后,雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)破产了,不过美元依旧毫发未损。

    但他指出,如果美国违约,对美元的影响会截然不同。违约发生后,经济中流通的现金将出现严重短缺,因为美联储(U.S. Federal Reserve)用于在金融机构之间转移资金的电子网络无法结算违约证券交易。回购市场以及由美国国债作为抵押担保的贷款将会冻结。

    In a long-awaited breakthrough, Congress is inching closer to a deal that would increase the nation's borrowing limit and end a two-week-old government shutdown. The U.S. may just barely miss a default days before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its ability to borrow, but the sigh of relief could be short lived.

    As the Washington Post reports, the Senate's Republican caucus is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Tuesday to consider an emerging deal, which if finalized, could extend the Treasury's borrowing power until Feb. 7, reopen the government, and fund federal agencies through mid-January. Months from today, it wouldn't be surprising if Congress stalls over the debt ceiling again. Only next time the U.S. may not be so lucky, and the latest debt ceiling debacle offers a good glimpse as to why.

    Unlike during the political gridlock in 2011 when the U.S. lost its stellar credit rating from Standard & Poor's, some lawmakers (Republicans, in particular) have been downright blasé about it all this time around.

    They've been playing down the significance of hitting the debt limit -- Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says the U.S. can avoid default by putting aside funds to pay bondholders. That may sound fine at first, but it effectively suggests other expenses, such as payments to Social Security recipients, could take a back seat. That would be scary because not paying your bills obviously isn't a good way to get yourself in good financial condition.

    And for the U.S. government to skip its financial obligations would be catastrophic for the U.S. dollar.

    In an article in Project Syndicate, University of California economist Barry Eichengreen lays out the implications of a default on the world's reserve currency. The result would be a sharp drop in the dollar combined with huge losses for financial institutions.

    "Even if the Treasury paid bondholders first -- choosing to stiff, say, contractors or Social Security recipients -- the idea that the U.S. government always pays its bills would no longer be taken for granted," says Eichengreen, who writes frequently about the demise of the dollar. "Holders of U.S. Treasury bonds would begin to think twice."

    Already, the world's central banks are losing faith in the world's richest country; officials are preparing for a U.S. default some say could happen at any time. The dollar's decline would be felt across the world, causing the value of smaller currencies to spike. It would also hurt emerging market economies, causing currencies from South Korea to Mexico to shoot up and therefore make whatever they sell abroad more expensive and much less competitive.

    This sounds pretty awful, but it's easy to see why some folks in Washington aren't convinced. When the subprime-mortgage crisis hit, it was widely forecast that the greenback would tank, but that never happened. Eichengreen notes the dollar actually strengthened as investors scrambled for safety in U.S. Treasury bonds. That also happened a year later when Lehman Brothers went under.

    But a default would be different, he argues. There would be a serious shortage of cash circulating the economy, as the electronic network operated by the U.S. Federal Reserve to transfer funds between financial institutions isn't set up to settle transactions in defaulted securities. The repo market, loans offered against Treasury bonds, would freeze up.

1 2 下一页

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏