在川普时代开始前,中国让人民币贬值

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年1月10日 作者:美国之音双语新闻(Saibal Dasgupta)

行人走过北京的中国人民银行总部,那里有警察巡逻(2013年11月20日)
行人走过北京的中国人民银行总部,那里有警察巡逻(2013年11月20日)(People walk past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China as two police officials patrol the area in Beijing Nov. 20, 2013. )

人民币对美元汇率继星期五之后继续下跌。这一跌势凸显了北京面对的外汇管理方面的挑战。中国担心美国侯任总统川普威胁要宣布中国为汇率操纵国的说法成为现实。分析人士说,在这次下跌之前,中国央行已经调低了人民币汇率中间价,力图避免人民币遭到市场重挫和可能的货币危机。

人民币汇率离岸价出现去年6月以来最大的跌幅。这是北京对中国人在海外购房进行外汇限制的措施出台后马上发生的,显示出中国限制资本外逃是多么艰难。 资本外逃是人民币汇率下跌的一个重大原因。

彼得森国际经济研究所高级研究员雅各布·基克加德对美国之音说,“中国人民银行可能是想避免人民币贬值成为市场的单行道,如果出现这种局面,继续下跌的压力将更难抵挡。”

基克加德说,虽然中国央行可能不愿意或没有能力不断地干预市场来支撑人民汇率,但是,如果它可以使市场不可预测地动荡不定,可能使交易人员难以把赌注下在人民币继续下跌上。

人民币星期一对美元的交易中间价是6.9262元,上星期五是6.8668元。中国允许人民币交易价每日在固定中间价上下浮动2%。

保护货币

中国通常用大量的资金干预来防止人民币汇率下跌,有时甚至抬高汇率。上星期人民币对美元汇率就有几天走高,所以说,央行允许人民币汇率下跌两天,是意义重大的。

中国官员表示,北京现在有节制地动用资金来保护经济增长,允许人民币汇率在接近现实的水平浮动,因为已经损失了很大一部分外汇储备。外汇储备已经从2014年的4万亿美元缩水到3万亿美元左右,而同期人民币对美元的汇率损失了将近一元。

国家外汇管理局发布了使用外汇的新规定,并且制定了把大量资金转移国外者的黑名单。官媒报道说,名单上的人不得换汇。

中国当局担心,资本外逃、美元升值以及川普可能采取的不利行动可能在今后几个星期对人民币造成严重打击。

基克加德说,“如果人民币汇率突然快速下跌,中国储蓄者的信心可能会崩溃,中国公司偿付外资债务的能力将成问题。因此中国政府别无选择,只能确保人民币的任何下行运动是逐渐的,而不是造成恐慌的。“

近几个星期,中国央行要求所有银行上报超过人民币5万元的交易,以前的上报门坎儿是20万元。

资本外流增加

武汉科技大学金融证券研究所所长董登新对中国媒体说,“国内资本外流2016年会超过1600亿美元,而2015年是1000亿美元。增加得太快,更何况现金外流中相当大一部分可能是非法的。”

资本外逃既是货币疲软的原因,也是结果。资本流出中国是因为人们对经济前景悲观,想为资金找到更大的回报。这一外流会压低人民币的汇率,引起恶性循环,促使中国投资者寻找外国投资工具来自保,以免在人民币汇率下跌中蒙受损失。

北京大学光华管理学院教授鲍大雷(Paul Gillis)说:“中国人把储蓄的人民币换成美元投资国外。当中国人把人民币换成美元时,中国就得用美元买进人民币。如果不这样做,人民币的买卖双方就会失衡,人民币的汇率就会暴跌。”

尽管中国政府努力支撑人民币,但是市场人士认为,人民币对美元的汇率还会继续下跌。强势的美元和美国下任总统可能采取的对中国商贸不利的行动,有可能在今后几个星期里对人民币造成严重打击。

基克加德说,“我认为,随着美联储的加息行动,美元会继续走高,人民币的下行压力会继续下去。只有在美国经济增长低于预期的时候,美元才会停止升值,对人民币的压力才会减轻。我估计北京在短期内会继续加紧资本控制,尽量保留外汇储备。”

China Lets Yuan Drop Before Uncertainties of Trump Era

The Chinese yuan fell against the dollar Monday, following losses Friday. The decline underlines the foreign exchange management challenges for Beijing, which is worried about U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's threat to declare China a currency manipulator. The slide came after the the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, reset the trading range lower to save the yuan from a market thrashing and a possible currency crisis, analysts said.

The slide in the yuan's offshore value is the worst slide since last June. It came soon after Beijing imposed foreign exchange restrictions on Chinese buying properties overseas, demonstrating how difficult it is for China to check capital flight, an important cause of the fall in the value of the yuan or RMB, the abbreviated form of renminbi.

“The PBOC probably wants to avoid that an RMB slide becomes a one-way bet for the market, as this would make the pressure for further declines much harder to resist,” Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics told VOA.

While the central bank might be unwilling or unable to intervene constantly to prop up the RMB exchange rate, if it can make the market unpredictably volatile, it might make it hard for traders to gamble on RMB falling further, Kirkegaard said.

The yuan fixed trading mid-range was 6.9262 to the dollar Monday, compared with 6.8668 on Friday. China allows the yuan to trade two percent up or down from its fixed mid-range each day.

Protection money

China usually spends a huge amount of money to protect the yuan from falling, and even pushes it up occasionally. The yuan strengthened against the dollar for a couple of days last week. This is why the POBC's decision to allow the currency to slide for two days is significant.

Chinese officials have indicated Beijing is now rationing what it spends to protect the economy and is allowing the yuan to float close to realistic levels because it has already lost a significant portion of its foreign currency. Foreign currency reserves have fallen to around $3 trillion from $4 trillion in 2014. During that time, the U.S. dollar exchange rate has dropped by nearly one yuan.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has issued new rules to control the use of foreign currency and has prepared a blacklist of people who have sent large amounts of money out of the country. Those on the list may be barred from converting RMB into foreign currency, state media said.

Chinese authorities fear that capital flight from China, the strengthening dollar and possible adverse moves by Trump might result in a severe beating for the yuan in the coming weeks.

"If the RMB drops suddenly very fast [as opposed to a slower managed decline], confidence among Chinese savers may collapse and the ability of Chinese firms to service foreign denominated debts may become difficult," Kirkegaard said. "It is hence imperative for the Chinese government to ensure that any downward movement in the RMB become gradual, rather than panicky."

In recent weeks, banks have been asked to report all cash transactions exceeding 50,000 yuan ($7,200) to the central bank; the previous threshold was 200,000 yuan.

Rising outflows

“The domestic capital outflows in 2016 are expected to exceed $160 billion this year, up from $100 billion in 2015. The growth rate is too fast, not to mention that a big part of that cash flow might be illegal,” Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told Chinese journalists.

Capital flight is both the cause, and result of weakening currency. Funds flow out of China because people are pessimistic about the economy and want greater returns on their assets. This drives down the yuan, triggering a vicious cycle in which Chinese investors seek foreign investments to protect themselves against the weakening yuan.

“Chinese are converting their RMB savings into dollars and investing abroad. When Chinese convert RMB into dollars, China uses its U.S. dollar holdings to buy the yuan. If it did not do so there would quickly be an imbalance between buyers and sellers of yuan and the value of the yuan would plummet,” said Paul Gillis, professor of accountancy at the Peking University's Guanghua School of Management.

Market sources expect the yuan to further weaken against the dollar, despite government efforts to prop it up. The strengthening dollar and possible adverse actions against Chinese business by the next U.S. president might batter the currency in the coming weeks.

“I think the dollar will continue to strengthen and hence the pressure on the RMB to fall continue as the Fed raises interest rates. Only when the U.S. economy performs worse than expected will the dollar stop rising and pressure on the RMB ease,” Kirkegaard said. “I expect Beijing to continue to tighten capital controls in the near term to try to conserve as many forex reserves as possible.”