巴黎银行:西班牙经济走势稳健,但面临政治不确定性
2016-03-10 08:45:27
巴黎银行:西班牙经济走势稳健,但面临政治不确定性(2016.03.10)

  提要:2016年,西班牙经济很可能会遭受新兴市场经济减速的冲击,因而未来几个季度的经济增势很可能会有所减缓。尽管如此,西班牙经济仍有众多有利因素。企业盈利高涨、金融条件宽松以及存量资本的更新需求将支持企业投资。就业增长和购买力上升将继续推动消费支出。然而,2015年12月大选之后政治格局的转变令西班牙经济政策的方向面临不确定性。

  (外脑精华·北京)2016年,西班牙经济很可能会遭受新兴市场经济减速的冲击。尽管如此,西班牙经济仍有众多有利因素。企业盈利高涨、金融条件宽松以及存量资本的更新需求将支持企业投资。就业增长和购买力上升将继续推动消费支出。然而,2015年12月大选之后政治格局的转变令西班牙经济政策的方向面临不确定性。

  未来几个季度之中,西班牙经济增势很可能会有所减缓。西班牙经济高度依赖出口,而且正在增加对亚洲和拉美的出口,因而将遭受这两个地区经济减速的打击。

  经济显现活力

  西班牙经济仍具备众多优势,将保持较为强劲的增长,2015年经济增速为3.1%,预计2016年为2.2%。企业正在赢得市场份额,因此收获了多年努力提升竞争力的奖赏。他们同样受益于疲软的欧元和欧元区弹性良好的需求,特别是法国和德国,为西班牙主要的贸易伙伴。根据调查,制造业企业外国订单指数4季度有所提升。

  更为有利的财政环境,作为欧洲央行货币政策的结果,需要更新资本存量可能促进投资。商品价格下降同样有助于提振本已强劲的西班牙企业利润。这些因素再加上房地产价格自2015年初略有提升,将为建筑业投资提供支持,而建筑业投资远远低于2008年危机前的水平。

  在此背景下,公司有可能继续雇佣新员工。欧洲委员会调查和PMI指标表明,新增就业比例强劲,特别是服务行业。建筑业就业,在危机中减少180万,严重拖累的西班牙经济,同样可能继续展示出改善的迹象。这一趋势将支持消费支出,消费支出同样受益于通胀的缺失。2015年12月价格略有下降,以应对石油价格进一步下降。

  政策走向面临不确定性

  西班牙已经成功实现稳健增长并消除了主权债务危机的威胁,即便代价是严厉的财政紧缩措施。2015年预算赤字占GDP的4.6%,该数据在2012年达到10.4%的峰值。2016年可能降至4%左右。然而,这些改善并不足以打消许多西班牙人的不满,他们仍继续经历持续的困难。2015年3季度GDP仍比此前2008年2季度峰值低4.5%,同时失业率比2007年春季水平高接近14个点,尽管自2014年冬季以来新增接近55万职位。工资适度和就业质量恶化同样起到了一定作用。3季度有15%的雇员在做兼职工作。

  因此,在2015年12月20日大选后,西班牙陷入了政策僵局。在选举中赢得多数票的右翼人民党不能单独执政。尽管在大选中赢得28.7%,仅占350个国会席位中的123席。然而,并没有执政联盟形成。人民党不能指望公民党(Ciudadanos),大选中排名第4,取得13.9%的支持,但仅有40个席位。目前来看左翼大规模联盟同样不大可能。主要的左翼党派,工人社会党(PSOE),仅取得22%支持,占90个席位,而激进的左翼“我们可以”党(Podemos)不同意承认加泰罗尼亚的政策。没有预判结果的情况下,“我们可以”党倾向独立公投,而工人社会党坚决致力于西班牙继续统一。大左翼联盟占大多数,工人社会党将同大量较小党派结成联盟,包括巴斯克分离主义分子。

  人民党和工人社会党之间的联盟允许西班牙继续实施已经采纳的政策。这样的联盟要求两党克服他们的不情愿。西班牙佛朗哥主义在人民党和工人社会党间留下了深深的裂痕。此外,类似联盟不大可能取得长期利益。近期选举表明西班牙人想要结束传统党派的霸权。特别是,左倾选民将大量转向“我们可以”党,如果工人社会党支持人民党。

  鉴于上述分析,最有可能出现的是人民党的少数派政府。即将卸任的首相可能会在国会第二轮授权表决中以简单多数组建新政府。目前只有公民党表示不参加授权表决,但大选前“我们可以”党支持率的上升可能会促使工人社会党重新考虑对人民党的支持。如果在两个月的第一轮授权表决期间无法组建政府,那么西班牙只能再次举行大选。如果成立了少数派政府,那么该政府必然是不稳定的。由于人民党只能依赖政治对手的支持,因而其施政空间将非常有限。

  就在西班牙各全国性政党陷入政治僵局之际,在GDP占全国20%的加泰罗尼亚地区,独立派政党则有可能凭借在议会中的多数席位,力求实现该地区独立的目标。“一起说要”(Junts pel Sí)联盟赢得了9月27日的地区选举,并以其领导人Artur Mas不再出任政府领导人为代价,得到了左翼独立政党CUP的支持。

  西班牙需要应对一系列挑战,而不危及政府高债务水平的公共财政。所有的党派都将寻求妥协和放宽紧缩政策,以免危及经济增长。

  

  英文原文:Dynamic economy, log-jammed politics

The Spanish economy is likely to suffer from slowing growth in certain emerging markets. However, it retains numerous strengths. Record corporate profitability, advantageous financial conditions and the need to renew the capital stock are likely to boost investment. Job creation and purchasing power gains are also likely to continue to help support consumer spending. The transformation of the Spanish political landscape after the general election of 20 December 2015 does, however, raise questions as to the direction of the country's future economic policy.

Spanish growth is likely to lose some of its sparkle over the next few quarters. The country, which is highly export-orientated1 and which diversified its markets by increasing exports to Asia (9.2% of exports of goods in Q3 2015, from 6.3% in 2007) and Latin America, will suffer from slower growth in these regions.

A dynamic economy

Spain nevertheless retains a number of strengths and is likely to see relatively strong growth, of 3.1% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016. Companies are winning market share and thus reaping the rewards of many years' efforts to increase competitiveness. They are also benefiting from the weak euro and the good resilience of eurozone demand, particularly in France and Germany, the country’s main trading partners (15.5% and 10.5% respectively of exports of goods, see Figure 1). According to a Markit survey, the index of foreign orders addressed to manufacturing companies rose slightly in the fourth quarter (to an average of 54.8, from 52 in Q3 2015).

More advantageous financial conditions, as a result of ECB monetary policy, and the need to renew the capital stock are likely to boost investment. The contraction of commodity prices is also likely to help boost the already strong margins of Spanish companies. These factors, coupled with a slight increase in real estate prices since the beginning of 2015, could also offer support to investment in construction, which is still far below the levels seen before the crisis in 2008 (Q3 2015 was nearly 45% down on Q2 2007).

Against this background, companies are likely to continue to hire new staff. European Commission surveys and the PMI indices suggest that the rate of job creation is likely to remain strong, particularly in the service sector. Employment in the construction sector, which collapsed by 1.8 million during the crisis and weighed heavily on the Spanish economy, is also likely to continue to show signs of improvement. This trend will support consumer spending, which will also benefit from the absence of inflation. In December 2015 prices even fell slightly (0.1% over a year) in response to the further fall in oil prices.

Political log-jam

Spain has managed to achieve dynamic growth and remove the threat of a sovereign debt crisis, albeit at the cost of harsh austerity measures. The budget deficit was probably 4.6% of GDP in 2015, having peaked at 10.4% in 2012. It could fall to about 4% of GDP in 2016. However, these improvements have not been enough to dispel the discontent of the many Spaniards still suffering persistent difficulties. In the third quarter of 2015 GDP was still 4.5% below the previous peak in the second quarter of 2008, whilst unemployment was nearly 14 points higher than in the spring of 2007 (at 21.6% in October, from 26.2% in Q1 2013) despite the creation of nearly 550,000 jobs since the winter of 2014. Wage moderation and the deterioration in the quality of employment have also played their part. Nearly 15% of employees worked part-time in the third quarter (from 11.6% in 2007).

As a result, Spain finds itself in a political log-jam following the general election on 20 December 2015. The right-of-centre People’s Party (PP), which won most votes in the election, is unable to govern alone. Despite winning 28.7% of the general vote, it has only 123 seats of the 350-seat Congress. However, no coalition has yet taken shape. The PP cannot count on Ciudadanos, which placed fourth in the election with 13.9% of the vote but only 40 seats. A grand coalition of the left also currently looks unlikely. The main left- of-centre parties, PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party), with 22% of votes and 90 seats, and the radical left Podemos (12.7% and 42 seats) disagree about the policy to follow with regard to Catalonia. Without prejudging the outcome, Podemos favours an independence referendum, whilst PSOE is firmly committed to the continued unity of Spain. For a grand coalition of the left to have a majority (176 seats), PSOE would have to form alliances with a large number of smaller parties, including the Basque separatists.

A coalition between PP and PSOE would allow Spain to pursue the policies adopted so far. Such an alliance would, however, require both parties to overcome their reluctance. Spain's Francoist past has left a deep fissure between the PP and PSOE. Moreover, the parties would be unlikely to draw any long-term benefits from such a coalition. The recent elections showed that Spaniards want to bring to an end the hegemony of the traditional parties. In particular, left- leaning voters could move to Podemos in greater numbers if PSOE propped up the PP.

Thus a minority government by the PP looks the most likely outcome. The outgoing Prime Minister could form a new government on the basis of a simple majority of votes in the second round investiture vote in Congress2. Only Ciudadanos has already indicated that it will abstain from the investiture vote, but the rise in support for Podemos shortly before the elections could lead PSOE to reconsider its support, albeit only implicit, for the PP. If no government is invested within two months of the first investiture vote, which is expected later in January, Spain will have to call new elections. If a minority government were to be elected it would certainly be unstable. The PP could only legislate with the votes of political opponents and would therefore have little room for manoeuvre in governing.

This national impasse comes at a time when independence parties, with the majority of seats in the Parliament, will be able to pursue the goal of independence for Catalonia, which represents nearly 20% of total Spanish GDP. The “Junts pel Sí” (Together for Yes) coalition, which combines several independence parties, topped the regional elections on 27 September and managed to secure the backing of the extreme left independence party, Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP), in exchange for agreement not to re-appoint Artur Mas, leader of Junts pel Sí, as the head of the Catalan government. This centre-right politician has been associated with the austerity measures introduced in Catalonia in recent years, as well as with corruption scandals that have damaged the reputation of his party. This process is only a first stage on the road to an independence referendum in Catalonia. It could lead various stakeholders to begin negotiations, and will certainly feed into the political debate over the coming months.

Spain will need to meet a number of challenges without imperilling the public finances of a government with a high level of debt (99.3% of GDP in 2014). All political parties will therefore be pushed to find compromise and ease austerity policies, without completely taking the foot off the brake.

1 Between 2007 and 2015, the weight of exports in total Spanish GDP rose from 26% to nearly 33%.

来源:巴黎银行,作者:Catherine Stephan
作者:Catherine

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