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美国原副国务卿:周小川卸任是中国银行界的损失!

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网易研究局(微信ID:wyyjj163)独家稿件

3月19日,周小川卸任中国人民银行行长。作为新中国历史上任期最长的一位央行行长,周小川推动国有商业银行股份制改革、人民币国际化、人民币加入SDR、利率市场化改革……他参与了中国金融改革的每一个关键环节。全球政要、经济学家如何看待这位“超级行长”?

就这一话题,网易研究局(微信ID:wyyjj163)独家采访了包括美联储原主席格林斯潘(Alan Greenspan)、美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀(Richard N. Cooper)、哈佛大学经济学院原院长本杰明·弗里德曼(Benjamin Friedman)在内的多位全球政要和经济学家。

以下为美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀的观点:

理查德·库珀为美国原副国务卿,主管美国经济事务,卸任后担任哈佛大学经济系教授,曾在美国肯尼迪政府、卡特政府和克林顿政府三届政府中都担任重要职务。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):您对周小川在央行任职十五年怎么看?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:我认为周小川是一位银行界的杰出领导者,无论是其在中国国内做出的贡献,还是其在国际上作为中国的一位代表,他都得到了广泛的尊敬。我不会说中文,但我认为周小川是一位优秀的演说家,在参加许多国际性会议时也能够熟练地用英语演说。周小川一直处于中国经济改革的前沿,特别是在金融领域,同时他也一直采取十分谨慎的态度践行这些改革措施。我认为就中国的情况来看,他的做法是十分明智的,所以应该说,他的卸任将会使中国流失一位优秀的银行界领袖型人才。

美国原副国务卿Richard N. Copper

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):2008年,为了应对金融危机的冲击,周小川采取了较为激进的做法,也遭到了一些人的反对,您对他在金融危机期间采取的举措怎么看?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:首先,当时中国国内并没有发生金融危机,金融危机的爆发主要是在美国和西欧国家。但问题是这场危机造成了世界性的经济衰退,影响到了加拿大、日本、中国和其它并未直接发生金融危机的国家。因此我认为中国在2008年到2009年期间采取的举措是为了应对这种世界性的经济衰退,而在当时的情况下,采取宽松的货币政策是有理由的。中国也并不是唯一采取这种政策的国家,美联储、欧洲央行和日本央行都有类似的做法,所以中国当时的思路是和其它国家一致的。我想这也是明智的举措,如果当时没有这些措施,现在世界经济的发展可能会更加糟糕。

相比其它国家,中国的情况要更复杂一点。中国采取扩张性的财政政策,但中国的经济刺激措施主要是通过银行体系,而并不是直接由政府出台,所以货币政策和财政政策在中国要比在美国、英国或欧洲央行联系得更加紧密,在中国,中央人民银行并不像其它国家那样是独立于政府的。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):您对目前人民币国际化进程怎么看?周小川在推动人民币国际化当中发挥了怎样的作用?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:这是一个比较复杂的问题。首先,中国对人民币国际化的定义是什么?我不懂中文,但根据我的理解,中国的人民币国际化面临着两个主要的问题。

一方面是人民币的世界性流通,就像加元、澳元和英镑一样,这些都是完全可以自由兑换的货币,这些国家的公民可以不受限制地将本国货币兑换为其它国家的货币,外国人可以到加拿大或者澳大利亚进行没有各种限制的投资。从这个角度看,一种主要货币应该可以在世界范围内使用,中国还远没有做到这一点。为了实现人民币国际化,人民币需要充分实现世界范围内的可自由兑换。而我认为中国在推进这方面的改革上十分谨慎,这是人民币成为主要的、世界货币的一个问题之一。

我也听说现在有许多非经济学的人士对此有完全不同的看法,他们认为人民币想要达到和美元同等的地位。要知道,作为一种世界性的货币,美元可以脱离美国在任何国家自由使用和兑换,就这个问题我想说:人民币是否能够国际化并不是中国能够决定的。中国为此做出了努力,也符合一定的条件,但人民币是否能够成为世界货币要由外国人决定,而不是中国政府。美国政府从来没有“推动”美元成为国际货币,美元的地位是其它国家决定的,就像在十九世纪发生的那样。中国政府需要为人民币的国际流通创造条件,但最后人民币是否能够成为世界货币还是要由其它国家决定。我认为人民币的国际化短期内很难实现。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):周小川行长曾经讲到,他认为人民币的利率市场化已经基本实现了,不知道您怎么看?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:我之前没听到过他的这一说法,但我基本同意。储蓄利率已经回到了2014年的水平,所以从政策上的宏观角度来看利率已经完全市场化了,贷款利率甚至在更早几年通过不同的阶段就实现了自由化,所以他的说法是对的。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):您对最近人民币的升值和美元指数的下降怎么看?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:最近美元指数对许多国家的货币都有所下降,不只是人民币,实际上美元对人民币的贬值相比其他货币反而要小。但我们要透过现象看本质,美元指数在两年或者两年半以前的增长都是异常强劲的,出现几次调整和波动并不奇怪,当时不只是人民币,包括欧元在内的其他货币也在升值,英镑受黑天鹅事件事件影响是一个例外,加元也在两年前对美元有所升值。

一个国家的货币总是在流动的,所以这种货币波动和调整是很正常的,大概在两年前也曾经出现过类似的对于过强美元走势的调整。我想给一个更为详尽的解释。

美国税改、稳定增长的美国利率在接下来的一年到18个月中,将会强震美元走势。但这些都是很温和的调整,人民币对美元汇率一度曾贬值到6.9,现在又回到了贬值前的6.3,这些都是很正常的小幅度波动。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):您认为中国的财政政策会对世界经济造成巨大的影响吗?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:要看从哪个角度来回答。中国是一个拥有庞大银行存款的国家,活期存款的数额也十分惊人,可以说是一个巨大的经济体,它的资金活动的确会对世界其他国家产生影响。但这种国情既有好处也有坏处,按照当下的世界经济来说,这种巨大的资金储蓄量会带来好处,但放在六年前就很糟糕了,因为现在的世界经济和六年前相比已经基本恢复正常。所以如果从国家的层面来说,我认为中国经济的确对世界经济有着重要的影响。

但如果从货币政策和规则的细微变化上讲,从国内经济发展的角度来说,因为中国对资金的流动是有管制的,无论是资金的流入还是流出。通常在美国和欧元区国家货币政策的效果要从资金活动当中体现,但资金无法在中国自由地流入和流出,所以中国经济对世界的影响会受到这种资金管制的限制。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):最近美联储和中国央行的领导都发生了变化,您认为未来中美两国的金融政策会发生什么变化?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:美国方面,我虽然不认识新任主席Powell,但他曾经在美联储任职多年,而且这种换届是投票产生的结果,美国总统是不能决定货币政策的,而是由美联储的开放市场委员会来决定,Powell就是委员会的成员,深入参与过委员会高层的各种事务,我想接下来他会继续美联储一直采取的政策方向。当然,美联储的政策是会受到美国经济影响的,现在来看美国经济还算保持着比较健康的增长,所以接下来的18个月里我期望货币政策应该会进一步收紧。

网易研究局(微信 ID wyyjj163 ):中美两国的经济发展会出现冲突吗?特别是在金融市场和国际市场方面?

美国原副国务卿理查德·库珀:按照当下的情况来看我认为不会,但也许在未来会出现一方经济发展放缓,而另一方经济迅速增长的情况,因此两国会采取完全不同的货币政策,这种情况在过去也经常出现。但就像刚才说的,中国的资金管制使其经济相对独立,所以当下我不认为两国的经济发展会出现什么冲突。(杨泽宇 李兆元)

理查德·库珀(Richard N. Cooper)为美国原副国务卿(卡特政府时期),主管美国经济事务。现为哈佛大学经济系教授,曾在美国肯尼迪政府、卡特政府和克林顿政府三届政府中担任重要职务。

(附英文实录)

Q:How do you comment on Zhou and his 15 years work at PBOC?

A: I’m actually speaking as an economist, a professor of economics, who is interested in central banks, not as a former governmental official.

A: I think Zhou Xiaochuan has been an outstanding central bank governor, both for China and as a representative of China on the international area, he is very widely respected, he is smart, articulate. I don’t speak Chinese, but I assume he is articulate in Chinese, and he is very articulate also in English, which he uses in many international meetings that he goes to. He has been in the forefront of economic reform of some areas, particularly the financial sector, but he is as a reformer, being cautious in pushing forward in the reforms, which I think has been wise, given the circumstances in China. So I would say is, President Zhou is an outstanding central bank governor, and China will lose a very good man, if he retires.

Q: let’s talk about some of his deeds in the past, in order to cope with the financial crisis in 2008, there was a balance shift in the PBOC bandage rapidly, and some people may disagree with Zhou’s measures, which he has taken during his time, so how do you think about his policy during the financial crisis?

A:The first thing I should say is, China itself did not have a financial crisis, the financial crisis was concentrated in the United States and in Western Europe, and the problem is, the financial crisis went into a worldwide recession, which influenced Canada, Japan, China and other countries that did not actually experience the financial crisis.

So I would say that the policy pursued by China in 2008 and in 2009 was responding to the worldwide recession. And I think that under the circumstances at that time, a substantial easy monetary policy was highly warranted. And China of course was not alone, the US, European Central Bank and East Bank in England and East Bank of Japan, so China was in think with other major central banks of the world. I think it was generally a wise and decisive decision, it has a legacy, but it would be much worse today if those decisions had not been taken.

China is a little more complicated in one respect, like other countries, China pursued an expansionist fiscal policy, but the financing in the physical stimulus in China was mainly by the bank system, not directly by the government, so monetary and fiscal policy was more closely related in China than those in United States, Britain or ECB, which is of course just monetary policy, fiscal policy rest with the National States. And of course, the PBOC was not as independent to the central government as in other leading countries.

Q: How do you like the process the RMB internationalization? And what role do you think Zhou has played in the RMB internationalization?

A: That is a complicated question. Starting with the meaning of internationalization, what do China actually mean by internationalization of RMB? I have the impression, but I do not read Chinese, so I cannot follow Chinese literature. China are competing in two very different issues:

One is being, I would call it, a normal currency, which is available for every international use. Like Canadian dollar or Australian dollar or British pound, they are fully convertible, residents can buy other foreign currencies without restriction, foreigners can invest in Canada or Australia, which from a currency point of view, without all kinds of restrictions. So at that point of view, it’s a normal currency which is available for use around the world. As one step, and in order to achieve that step, China is not there yet, and RMB needs to be made fully convertible for that step. And I think China has been cautious, or correctly cautious in moving forward, that’s one of the issues of becoming a normal, international currency.

I have the impression among non-economists, they have a quite different status on international currency, they want to be like US dollar. You know, an international currency, in a sense, the US dollar is used in transactions between countries that do not involve United States. The point I want to make there, I want to make several points.

First, that decision is not made by China, China has its steps and conditions, by which step can take place, that is making RMB a normal currency, as I would call it, but it is foreigners who will decide whether RMB becomes an international currency in that sense, not the Chinese government. That’s the first point, that foreigners will decide.

The US government never pushed the dollar as an international currency in those terms, that was decided by foreigners. And similarly, just like in the 19th century, that issue will be set by foreigners, the Chinese government has to create conditions, but it’s the foreigners that will decide whether the RMB becomes an international currency. I do not see it will take place in decades.

Q: Zhou has said interest rates liberalization of RMB has basically accomplished, I don’t know whether you have heard of his words.

A: I haven’t heard his word on this, but I agree with what he has said. From a formal point of view, the setting interest rates on deposits has been in whatever it was, 2014 I think, so a year and half ago. So from that formal point of view, now it has been completely liberalized, lending rates were liberalized some years earlier in various phases, so he’s correct from a formal point of view.

Q: How like the rapid appreciation of RMB and the weakened dollar index in recent months?

A: The dollar has weakened against many currencies, not just against the RMB, actually it is rather less weakened against the RMB than other currencies. But you also need to know the starting point, the dollar is exceptionally strong, let’s say two years ago, and two years and half ago, so several correction is not surprising, that other currencies have appreciated not just the RMB, but the Euro, one exception is the pound, which was influenced by blackened, the Canadian dollar has appreciated against the US having been very low two years ago.

You know, currency move around a lot and this is one of the general movements. In this case, correcting the very strong dollar was roughly two years ago, that interpretation I would not give a deeper interpretation. We’re gonna see in the coming year, given the US tax reductions, a substantial increase in US interest rates, in the next year to 18 months, that will further strengthen the dollar. But these are all modest movements, the RMB was at one time around 7, or 6.9 to the US dollar, it has gone back to what it is now, 6.3, which is where it was before the rise of the dollar. So anyway, all these are still relatively modest movements.

Q: Do you think the RMB and China’s financial policies have enough impacts on the world yet? I mean do you think they have large influence on the world economy?

A: Well, yes or no. I think the fact that China is a very high saving country, and has a substantial current account surplus, it does have an impact, it is a big economy, it certainly has an impact on the rest of the world. Let’s say, net source of savings for the world as a whole. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing depends on the condition of the rest of the world, at the moment, it is probably a good thing, six years ago, it would be a bad thing. Because the world’s economy is in a better shape now than it was six years ago. So in that fundamental sense, my answer is yes, China has an important influence on the world’s economy as a whole.

If you’re talking about small changes in monetary policy or monetary rules, as a domestic economy, the answer to further expectation is No. Because China has exchange controls on capital movements, both inward and outward, and the usual influences in changes of monetary policies in big countries, said US or Euro zones like Britain, it is through capital movements. But capital movements are in or out, capital movements cannot move in or out freely in China. So the influence on the rest of the world’s economy of changes in monetary policy are heavily muted by existence of capital controls.

Q: You know the leadership of Federal Reserve and PBOC has both changed recently. What do you think of the financial policy trend of China and US will be?

A: Speaking of the US, I do not know Mr. Powell, the new chairman, but he has been a member of Federal Reserve for a number of years. And it’s a collective decision in the United States, the president is out of the loop, the president does not determine monetary policy, it’s the open market committee of the Federal Reserve that determine it. Powell has been a member of this, deeply immersed with all of those debates that’s going on inside the board, I think he will be a source of continuity in Federal Reserve policy. But of course, Federal Reserve policy will be influenced by the American economy, the way circumstances are now, growth looks like it is relatively good in the US economy. And under the circumstances, I would expect to see some tightening of monetary policy in the next 18 months, but not because Yellen is retired, and Powell has replaced her, I would say the same thing even Yellen be reappointed. So this is the continuity of process, influenced by the external environment, not a change of leadership.

Q: Do you think will there be any conflict between China and US economy? Regarding the financial field and the international market?

A: Not at the moment, but it’s possible that some economies are growing more slowly, and the other is growing very rapidly, therefore they want to pursue different monetary policies, because of the circumstances in each country, that can happen from time to time. Again, China’s economy is more isolated because of its capital controls, if you just look at the current circumstances, I don’t see any particular conflict between the two.

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