Financialist:欧元区财政政策将转向宽松
2016-02-23 16:52:19
Financialist:欧元区财政政策将转向宽松(2016.02.23)

  提要:在持续数年之久的财政紧缩之后,2016年欧元区国家将转而放松财政政策,这将是2010年以来的第一次。瑞信分析师认为,欧元区早该放松财政政策。如果能更早放松财政政策,那么欧元区当前的经济增长势头理应更为强劲。预计2016年欧元区总体预算赤字将由GDP的2%降至1.8%,但原因并不是政府削减支出,而在于利息减少,以及内需复苏导致税收增加。

  (外脑精华·北京)2016年欧元区国家将转向财政放松

  2009年以来,欧元区外围成员国希腊、爱尔兰、意大利、葡萄牙和西班牙都在力图通过削减公共支出和增税来摆脱债务危机。然而,2016年欧元区国家将转而放松财政政策,这将是2010年以来的第一次。

  瑞士信贷银行的欧洲经济分析师认为,欧元区早该放松财政政策。如果能更早放松财政政策,那么欧元区当前的经济增长势头理应更为强劲。欧盟委员会提供的数据显示,到2015年底,欧元区产出缺口仍然达到潜在GDP的1.8%左右,这个数字虽然小于2009年3.4%的峰值,但仍然高于全球金融危机爆发前任何时候的水平。

  利息减少和税收增加将推动欧元区预算赤字下降

  预计2016年欧元区总体预算赤字将由GDP的2%降至1.8%,但原因并不是政府削减支出,而在于利息减少,以及内需复苏导致税收增加。同时,欧元区结构性基础预算赤字将从1.4%减少至1.2%。该指标更多的表明了目前财政政策的方向,并非是整体赤字量级的原因。首先,利息支付仅告诉观察者历史借贷,而不是目前的财政政策。其次,政府自然会在好时期收入更多,糟糕时期收入更少,所以赤字的增长或削减是整体经济运行的表现。除去这两个变量提供了目前更好的财政政策。

  今年一些欧元区国家规划新的紧缩措施,大多数保持预算持平或者提升。德国政府计划支出额外的170亿美元--总量超出了教育和研究部门的预算--用于容纳从非洲和中东涌入的移民。与此同时,意大利近期预算废除了原住民的房产税,削减那些购买设备的企业税,奖励增加警察和士兵的工资,向每一位18岁民众提供500欧元用于文化活动支出。爱尔兰也承诺削减税费并在多方面提升支出,包括提升最低工资,引入3岁半至5岁间年龄儿童的免费看护,并促进教育支出。同时,2016年法国提出削减公共支出,同样减少企业和收入税。

  西班牙和葡萄牙的预算情况不明确。西班牙首相马里亚诺·拉霍伊(Mariano Rajoy)在2015年9月提交了预算草案,但是西班牙在12月20日不确定的选举后还未形成新的政府。欧洲委员会对于提出的预算持怀疑态度,预计这将使得西班牙错过达成2016年4.2%的赤字目标。同时,欧洲当局近期对葡萄牙发出警告,其预期的支出削减不够充分。

  欧洲当局也在规划地区性财政刺激项目。在所谓的容克计划下,欧洲成员国计划提升3150亿欧元用于大规模基础设施项目、年轻失业措施、中小型企业融资以及研究与开发投资。

  即便在德国,作为紧缩政策最大的支持者,财政刺激的可能性提升。而巨大的德国模式,出口驱动目前经常账户盈余,将国家同债务危机隔离,这同样没有受到新兴市场需求放缓的影响,德国对其出口的依赖占25%。瑞信经济学仍预计2016年德国经济增长仅低于2%,他们并没有预计其将在欧元区非常出色,如同危机开始以来的每一年。这部分原因在于受到严重冲击的外围成员国经历大幅反弹,但德国政策同样承担一部分责任。欧洲经济学家近期写道“这已经明确了一段时间,德国增长模式需要改变并且国家应该恢复更可持续的水平,由国内驱动经济增长。”

  消费在近几年德国经济中的作用愈发重要,在2013-2015年间占GDP增长超过一半,为之前十年的三分之一。不过,有9%的经常账户盈余,负面实际利率,以及历史较低的公共投资利率,欧洲最大经济体仍有很多空间去做更多措施鼓励国内消费。德国这样做是帮助地区经济,但是目前看起来像是自我保护的问题。

  

  英文原文:The End of European Austerity?

Since 2009, Europe's peripheral economies - Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain - have tried to dig their way out of a debt crisis by cutting public spending and raising taxes. This year, however, will be different. Fiscal policy in the euro zone is expected to ease for the first time since 2010.

The European economists in Credit Suisse's Global Markets division say it's high time fiscal policy loosened in the Eurozone. Had it done so earlier, the region might now be experiencing stronger economic growth than it is today. Consider that the output gap, the difference between actual economic growth and what it could produce if it were running at full throttle, was still 1.8 percent of potential GDP at the end of 2015, according to the European Commission. That's better than 2009, when the gap hit a peak of 3.4 percent, but it's still larger than at any point between when the European Commission began collecting data in 1996 and the onset of the global financial crisis.

The Eurozone's overall budget deficit is expected to improve from -2 percent to -1.8 percent in 2016, but not because governments are cutting spending on programs. Instead, lower interest rates will reduce debt payments and improving domestic demand should boost government revenues. Meanwhile, the Eurozone's structural primary balance - the difference between revenues and spending, minus government debt service and adjusted for the stage of the business cycle - will decline from 1.4 percent to 1.2 percent. This indicator is more telling about the current direction of fiscal policy than the overall deficit number for a couple of reasons. First, interest payments only tell observers about historical borrowing, not current fiscal policy. Second, governments naturally take in more revenues in good times and less in bad ones, so at least some of the growth or shrinkage of any deficit is simply an artifact of how well the overall economy is doing. Removing these two variables gives a better sense of current fiscal policy.

Few countries in the euro zone are planning new austerity measures this year, with the majority either keeping budgets flat or increasing them. Germany's states plan to spend an additional 17 billion - an amount that exceeds the budget of the Ministry of Education and Research - to accommodate an influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Meanwhile, Italy's latest budget abolishes property taxes on primary residences, cuts business taxes for companies that purchase equipment, awards pay increases to police officers and soldiers, and gives every 18-year-old 500 to spend on cultural activities. Ireland, too, has pledged to cut taxes and increase spending in a number of ways, including raising the minimum wage, introducing free childcare for children between the ages of 31/2 and 5, and boosting education spending. While France's proposed 2016 budget cuts public spending, it also reduces corporate and income taxes.

The budget situations in Spain and Portugal are less clear-cut. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy introduced a preliminary budget in September 2015, but Spain has yet to form a new government following inconclusive elections on December 20. The European Commission was skeptical about the budget when it was introduced, predicting that it would cause Spain to miss its 4.2 percent deficit target in 2016. Meanwhile, European authorities recently issued a letter warning Portugal that its anticipated spending cuts were insufficient.

European authorities are also planning regional fiscal stimulus programs of their own. Under the so-called Juncker plan, European member states are planning to raise 315 billion to invest in large infrastructure projects, youth unemployment measures, funding for small- and medium-sized businesses, and research and development.

Even in Germany, the most famous proponent of austerity policies, the likelihood of fiscal stimulus is increasing. While Germany's model of running huge, export-driven current account surpluses shielded the country from the debt crisis, it's not holding up as well as demand slows in emerging markets, which Germany relies on for 25 percent of its exports. Though Credit Suisse economists still expect Germany's economy to grow just under 2 percent in 2016, they don't expect it to outperform the Eurozone, as it has in every other year since the crisis began. That's partly because the hardest-hit peripheral economies are experiencing sharp rebounds, but German policy bears some responsibility, too. "It has been clear for some time that the German growth model needs to change and that the country should revert to more sustained levels of domestically driven economic growth," Credit Suisse's European economists wrote in a recent note.

Consumption has been playing an increasingly important role in the Germany economy in recent years, accounting for more than half of GDP growth between 2013 and 2015 compared to just one-third in the preceding decade. Still, with a 9 percent current account surplus, negative real interest rates, and historically low public investment rates, Europe's largest economy certainly has room to do more to encourage domestic consumption. The call for Germany to do so used to be framed in altruistic terms of helping the regional economy, but now it looks more like a matter of self-preservation.

来源:Financialist,作者:Ashley Kindergan
作者:Ashley

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