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量化宽松拥趸请当心候选美联储主席大热门

量化宽松拥趸请当心候选美联储主席大热门

Stephen Gandel 2013年07月31日
拉里•萨默斯是奥巴马的下届美联储主席的热门人选之一,不过萨默斯对于当前的货币政策向来不那么感冒。他认为,量化宽松政策对美国经济的提振作用相当有限,而且还会带来实实在在的副作用。

    美国白宫可能很快会为美联储(Federal Reserve)新增一位知名的量化宽松政策质疑者,他就是拉里•萨默斯。

    这位下届美联储主席的热门人选经常在演讲、署名文章和研究报告中对近年来美联储惯用的通过购买债券、刺激经济增长的方式提出质疑。萨默斯认为,意在降低利率的量化宽松政策在提振经济方面的作用低于人们所想,而且,他还经常指出这个计划潜在的负面影响。

    上个月在《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)举办的早餐会上,萨默斯提出了这样一个观点,量化宽松可能正在形成泡沫,同时可能加剧美国收入不均衡的问题。“确实有一些证据表明,不满足于完全安全回报率的投资者们有追求收益的行为,”萨默斯说。“至于到什么程度反映的是期望获得的增长...到什么程度说明是接近泡沫,这是...货币政策当局必须随着时间的推移做出的判断。”

    至于沃伦•巴菲特和其他人担心的“结束量化宽松政策可能导致市场休克”,萨默斯认为并不足虑。2011年4月,萨默斯在一次经济学家聚会上表示,认为美联储撤出国债市场之时利率将大幅跃升的想法很傻。萨默斯当时说:“只要对高效市场形式观念有点了解,就不会相信这种说法。”实际上,在本•伯南克暗示美联储可能很快放弃其量化宽松计划后,利率在过去的两个月已经显著上涨。

    萨默斯在同一会议上表示,对于美联储“探索多种方式”降低利率曾经有质疑。对于萨默斯,这些质疑一直就存在。萨默斯去年夏季为路透社(Reuters)撰写的署名文章中曾经写到:“重新重视量化宽松有些奇怪。”

    他表示,美联储购进更多债券产生略微更低一点的利率不可能促使企业增加借贷数额或进行新的投资。据《金融时报》(Financial Times)报道称,萨默斯在4月份举办的一个对冲基金大会上表示,他对于量化宽松政策的看法基本上是“凑合”。帮不了多少忙,也不会造成多大的损害。据报道称,他说:“如果量化宽松政策将不会对需求产生重大的影响,也不会对通货膨胀产生大的影响,”

    伯南克支持量化宽松政策的主要支柱之一是被称为财富效应的理念。萨默斯对此也不认同。他说,仅仅由于股市上涨并不意味着人们将进行更多支出。萨默斯已表示,真正促进消费的是收入提高,更可能发生的情况是,由于利率下降,量化宽松降低了收入,而不是提高收入

    The White House might be about to add a prominent quantitative easing skeptic to the Federal Reserve: Larry Summers.

    In speeches, editorials, and recent studies, Summers, who has emerged as a top choice to be the next Fed head, has regularly questioned the wisdom of the U.S. central bank's signature bond buying program to stimulate the economy. Summers has said quantitative easing, which is meant to lower interest rates, has done less to boost the economy than people think, and he has frequently brought up the program's potential downsides.

    At a breakfast hosted by the Wall Street Journal last month, Summers raised the possibility that quantitative easing was creating a bubble and perhaps adding to the nation's problems with income inequality. "There's certainly anecdotal evidence of yield chasing by investors who are seeking to earn greater than completely safe rates of return," said Summers. "To what extent that reflects desirable increases ... and what extent that reflects movements towards bubbles is a judgement that ... monetary policy authorities will have to make over time."

    Summers has also dismissed concerns brought up by Warren Buffett and others that ending QE could shock the markets. In April 2011, at a gathering of economists, Summers said the idea that there would be a big jump in interest rates when the Fed pulls back from the bond market was silly. "Some acquaintance with efficient-market-type notions would lead one to be rather skeptical of that idea," said Summers at the time. In fact, interest rates have risen sharply in the past two months following suggestions by Ben Bernanke that the Fed would soon wind down its quantitative easing program.

    At that same conference, Summers said there were questions about the Fed "exploring multiple instruments" to lower interest rates. For Summers, those questions have persisted. In an editorial for Reuters last summer, Summers wrote, "There is an oddity in this renewed emphasis on quantitative easing."

    He said that the slightly lower interest rates that could be generated by more bond buying from the Fed was unlikely to compel business to increase borrowing or make new investments. At a hedge fund conference in April, according to the Financial Times, Summers said his verdict on QE was basically, "meh." Not much of a help, but not much of a hurt either. "If QE won't have a large effect on demand, it will not have a large effect on inflation either," he reportedly said.

    One of Bernanke's main justifications for QE is something called the wealth effect. Summers isn't buying that either. He says just because the stock market is higher doesn't mean people will spend more. Summers has argued what really boosts spending is higher incomes and, if anything, because of lowered interest rates, QE has lowered incomes, not raised them..

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