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贝卢斯科尼下台救不了意大利

Cyrus Sanati 2011年11月10日

贝卢斯科尼宣布有条件辞职,市场反应积极。然而,意大利真正的问题并不在领导层。经济实力的下降已使得这个国家只能靠借入更多的钱才能维持以往的好日子。更换新的领导人并不能改变这一点。

    让意大利庆幸的是以欧元区所有成员国为后盾的欧洲央行伸出了援手。今年夏天,投资者开始停止买入意大利债券,欧洲央行挺身而出,在二级市场购入了意大利债券进行干预。欧洲央行这一前所未有的、法律上仍存疑点的干预举动帮助意大利债券的收益率降到了更可管理的水平。欧洲央行表示,此次干预是“应急之举”,一旦扩容后的欧洲救助基金,即欧洲金融稳定基金(The European Financial Stability Facility,简称EFSF)开始运转,欧洲央行就会退到一边。

    经过数月的政治磋商,10月份欧元区所有成员国终于批准了EFSF扩容事宜。此后不久,欧洲央行重申不会作为EFSF的后盾,而且购买债券的职责也将很快移交给EFSF。

    市场可不喜欢听到这些消息。自从欧洲央行做出上述声明,意大利债券收益率稳步上升,即便是在欧元区成员国同意通过借力民间,将新扩容的EFSF基金规模(4,400亿欧元)再度扩大2-3倍.之后,上升的趋势也没有发生改变。

    与此同时,欧洲央行仍在默默买入意大利债券。上周它买入了约95亿欧元的意大利债券,购买额是之前一周的两倍。欧洲债券交易员告诉《财富》杂志(Fortune),如果没有欧洲央行的持续干预,意大利债券收益率可能早已升至两位数。由于有太多不确定因素,私人投资者对意大利债券的需求少之又少。欧洲央行可能撒手不管以及意大利政府可能换届的传言推动周二早间意大利债券收益率升至历史高点6.74%。

    意大利债券不可持续的高收益率无疑是在告诉罗马和布鲁塞尔:市场还是不相信你们。市场不相信意大利政府——无论是由贝卢斯科尼、还是技术官员领导——会实施必要的严厉改革整顿意大利的财政状况并帮助其走向经济繁荣。市场不相信EFSF仅凭一己之力就能撑起意大利脆弱的债券市场,以及希腊、葡萄牙、爱尔兰和西班牙的债券市场。市场也不相信EFSF通过金融工程安排的扩容新计划能够取得成功。

    明年意大利有约3,000亿欧元的旧债需要换成新债。EFSF根本没有能力消化这么多债券,同时支持欧元区其他边缘国家。欧盟和意大利需要重新赢得私人市场的信赖。要实现这一点,投资者要看到或听到的可不只是金融上的小花招和酸掉牙的意大利情歌。

    Lucky for Italy, the European Central Bank, which is backed by all members of the euro zone, came riding to the rescue. When investors stopped buying Italian debt this summer, the ECB stepped in and bought Italian bonds on the secondary markets. This unprecedented, and legally questionable, intervention by the ECB helped bring in Italian bond yields to more manageable levels. The ECB said the intervention was an "emergency measure" and that it would be suspended once the recently enlarged European bailout fund, The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), was up and running.

    After several months of political haggling, the newly enlarged EFSF was finally agreed to by all the members of the euro zone in October. Soon after, the ECB reiterated that it would not be backing the fund and that it would be transferring bond buying duties to the EFSF in short order.

    The market did not like that at all. Italian bond yields have steadily increased since the ECB made that announcement and have continued to do so even after euro zone nations agreed to lever up the fund by two to three times its newly enlarged size of 440 billion euros.

    Meanwhile, the ECB has still been quietly buying up Italian debt. Last week it bought around 9.5 billion euros worth of Italian debt, double what it purchased during the previous week. Without the continued ECB intervention, Italian bond yields would have probably blown out into the double digits, European debt traders tell Fortune. There is still very little private demand for Italian paper given all the uncertainty in the market. The threat of an ECB pullout combined with talk of a government change helped push Italian bond yields to a record high 6.74% this morning.

    This unsustainably high yield for Italian debt is the market's way of telling Rome and Brussels: We still don't believe you. It doesn't believe that the Italian government, whether it is led by Berlusconi or technocrats, will make the tough changes necessary, to not only get Italy's fiscal house in order, but to also help grow its way to prosperity. It doesn't believe that the EFSF has the power to prop up Italy's fledgling debt market -along with that of Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain - all on its own. And it doesn't believe that the new plan to "lever up" the fund through clever financial engineering will work, either.

    The Italians have around 300 billion euros worth of debt that it needs to roll over next year. The EFSF simply doesn't have the ability to absorb that much debt and support the rest of the euro zone periphery. The EU and Italy need the private market to trust it once again. For that to happen, investors will need to be offered more than financial trickery and cheesy Italian love songs.

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