Kabuki economics 夸张的日本经济

Japan’s fragile economy 日本脆弱的经济

Kabuki economics 夸张的日本经济

A set of positive indicators hides troubling realities 一组表现优异的宏观经济指标暗藏着许多令人不安的现实。

Feb 18th 2010 | TOKYO | From The Economist print edition

Kabuki economics
Kabuki economics

PICK a number, any number. Statistics released this week show that the Japanese economy staged a vigorous rebound in the fourth quarter of last year. Real gross domestic product grew by 1.1% from the previous quarter, which amounted to an annualised rate of 4.6% (see chart). The economy is growing, but the closer you look the murkier things get.

The bounce in fourth-quarter GDP partly reflects the economy’s starting point. In the previous quarter growth had been nil, having been readjusted downward twice, from an initial estimate of 1.2% in November and a revised one of 0.3% in December. (If the latest numbers are to be believed, Japan’s GDP ended up contracting by 5% last year.)
去年第四季度国内生产总值的回升在一定程度上可以看成是经济发展的起点。上一季度(指2009年第三季度——译者注)的经济增长率为0%,(该季度经济)增长年率向下调整了两次——一次是从1.2%(11月)下调到0.3% (12月),后又从0.3%(12月)下调到0%。(1.2%和0.3%均是按年率计算所得,若以0.3%的年率为计算基础,则第三季度环比经济增长率为0.0749%。根据第三季度年增长率为0,得出该季度经济环比增长率为0%——译者注)(如果最近的数据可信,那么2009年日本国内生产总值会以缩水5%收官)

(这里的-5%与前面的季度环比增长率的年率计算和季度环比增长率的计算都没有关系,其计算公式为A*(1+R)^y=B 其中A为计算增长率的期前数,B为期末数,R为增长率,y为所覆盖到的年份数,此处A为2008年日本国内生产总值,B为2009年日本生产总值 R即为这里要求解的-5%,y等于1. 如果第四季度(the latest number)的环比增长率今后不改动,那么日本2009年全年的GDP不会变动,故可求出2009年的经济增长率——译者注)

Similar revisions are possible this time round. Japan’s number-crunchers continually update the economic numbers using new information and eschew statistical methods to smooth the figures, as in other countries. Like Japanese kabuki theatre, in which characters use exaggerated gestures to energise the audience, the country’s statistics unrealistically magnify both good news and bad.

The uncertainties do not end there. The big drivers of growth last quarter were domestic demand, which contributed 2.1 percentage points to annualised GDP growth, and exports, which contributed 2.2 percentage points. (The balance came from public-sector demand.) This might suggest that Japan’s economy is gradually rebalancing away from a dependence on external demand. Not so.

Nearly all the growth in consumer spending came from durable goods like cars and electronic gadgets, which have benefited from government subsidies introduced last year. These subsidies are ending in September (for cars) and December (for electronics and appliances). Once durable goods are removed from the data, consumer spending in the fourth quarter was flat. That is unsurprising. Wages are falling and unemployment, though below its peak of 5.7% last July, remains above 5%, high by Japanese standards. Household consumption fell in 2009 as a whole but sales of beansprouts, a classic belt-tightening purchase in Japan, jumped by more than 10%.

What about investment? Capital expenditure rose by 1% in the final three months of 2009, the first increase in seven quarters. But that came after a cumulative 25% decline since mid-2008. Firms’ capacity-utilisation rate, which measures the usage of existing equipment, is low. This suggests that capital expenditure has stabilised but not recovered, says Hiroshi Shiraishi of BNP Paribas.
那投资如何呢?资本开支在2009年最后一个季度上升了1%,是七个季度以来的首升。但那是在经历了自2008年中期以来累计下跌25%之后出现的。企业的产能利用率——用来测量现有设备的利用程度——处于低位。这表明资本开支一直稳定但是并没有恢复,法国巴黎银行的Hiroshi Shiraishi如是说。

That leaves exports, Japan’s normal route out of recessions. Exports produce the bulk of corporate profits, even though domestic consumption accounts for about 60% of GDP. The recovery is fragile here too. The country’s biggest export destination last quarter was China, sales to which increased by 43% in December alone. As Beijing tamps down on bank lending to address potential overheating, that number may yet turn out to be another illusion.
剩下的就是出口了,它是日本摆脱经济衰退的正规之路。日本的出口带来了丰厚的企业利润,尽管国内需求在GDP中的比重约占到60%。 经济复苏(的基本面)依旧脆弱。去年第四季度日本最大的贸易出口对象是中国,单单在12月,日本对中国的贸易额就上升了43%。 随着中国政府打压银行信贷来应对可能出现的经济过热,那一数据还可能最终证明是另一番幻影。


“Kabuki economics 夸张的日本经济”的3个回复


电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注