双语阅读|印度银行业与企业均陷入“烂账”困境

翻吧 / 2019年01月25日 02:33
IFINDIAisindeedtheworld’sfastest-growingbigeconomy,asitsgovernmentonceagainclaimedthisweek,noonetolditsbankersandbusinessleaders.Inanationof1.3bnsteadilygrowingataround7%ayear,themoodincornerofficesoughttobejubilant.Instead,firmsarebusycuttingbackinvestme

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IF INDIA is indeed the world’s fastest-growing big economy, as its government once again claimed this week, no one told its bankers and business leaders. In a nation of 1.3bn steadily growing at around 7% a year, the mood in corner offices ought to be jubilant. Instead, firms are busy cutting back investment as if mired in recession. Bank lending to industry, growth in which once reached 30% a year, is shrinking for the first time in over two decades. If this is world-beating growth, what might a slowdown look like?

印度政府本周再次宣告自己是全球增速最高的大型经济体,可印度的银行家和企业家却好像并不知道有此事。在一个拥有13亿人口,经济每年以7%左右稳定增长的国家,各行各业都理应情绪高涨。可是,印度企业却忙于削减投资,仿佛身处经济衰退期。印度工业部门的银行贷款年增速曾一度达到30%,如今却在二十多年内首次出现负增长。如果这也算是领先世界的经济增长的话,那么印度经济减速会是怎样的情景?

India’s macroeconomy chugs along (though the quality of government statistics remains questionable), but its corporate sector is ailing. The sudden and chaotic “demonetisation” of 86% of bank notes in November hardly helped. But the origins of India’s troubles go much deeper. After India dodged the worst of the financial crisis a decade ago, a flurry of investment was made on over-optimistic assumptions. Banks have been in denial about the ability of some of their near-bankrupt borrowers to repay them. The result is that the balance-sheets of both banks and much of the corporate sector are in parlous states.

虽然官方数据疑点重重,就这些数据来看,印度的宏观经济还是走势强劲。不过,相比之下印度企业却是重病缠身。去年11月,印度政府突然宣布“废钞”,导致86%的流通现金作废,令印度经济陷入混乱。这自然无助于企业摆脱困境。然而,这些企业的麻烦还有更深的根源。十年前,印度侥幸躲过了全球金融危机,过度的乐观情绪引来了大量投资。银行业忽视了一些濒临破产的企业的还债能力。结果是,银行业和诸多企业的资产负债表都陷入了危险境地。

After years of burying their heads in the sand, India’s authorities now worry that its “twin balance-sheet” problem will soon imperil the wider economy. Both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government have nagged banks to deal with their festering bad loans. Around $191bn-worth, or 16.6% of the entire banking system, is now “non-performing”, according to economists at Yes Bank. That number is still swelling.

而今,多年来一直回避该问题的印度政府也终于开始担忧即将危及整个国民经济的“孪生资产负债表”问题了。印度央行和政府都不断敦促银行业解决其日益恶化的不良贷款问题。印度银行Yes Bank的经济学家估算,不良贷款总额达到了1910亿美元左右,相当于银行业贷款总额的16.6%,新并且还在日益扩大。

Given the linkages between them, companies and banks often run into trouble concurrently. But countries where banks’ balance-sheets resemble Swiss cheese usually have no choice but to deal with the issue promptly, lest a panicked public start queuing up at ATMs. India is different. State-owned lenders make up around 70% of the system, and nobody thinks the government will let them go bust. As a result, what for most economies would be an acute crisis is in India a chronic malaise.

印度的企业界与银行业关系密切,因而两者常常同时陷入困境。然而,如果一家国银行的资产负债表如同瑞士奶酪(“瑞士奶酪模型”指一个系统如同一摞瑞士奶酪,每个层面的漏洞前后贯通,形成一个通道,令威胁能够层层突破,最终引发重大事故),那么这个国家通常别无选择,只能尽快解决问题,以免公众陷入恐慌,在取款机前大排场龙。不过,印度却与众不同,印度国有银行占银行贷款总额的70%左右,没人相信政府会让这些国有银行破产。因此,在大多数经济体内会引起突发性危机的问题在印度却是一个慢性疾病。

That doesn’t make it any less painful. Investment is a key component of GDP, and it is now shrinking, thanks to parsimonious firms. India runs a trade deficit and the government is seeking to cut its budget shortfall, which leaves consumption as the sole engine of economic growth. Indeed, until demonetisation, consumer credit was booming, up by about 20% year on year. Some may wonder whether those are tomorrow’s bad loans, or when consumers will run out of stuff to buy.

然而,这种差异并没有使印度的日子好过一些。作为GDP的关键部分,印度的投资在各家企业节流的情况出现了萎缩。印度外贸呈现逆差,政府又在尽力削减预算赤字,于是消费便成了经济增长的唯一动力。事实上,在“废钞”前,印度消费信贷增势强劲,同比增速约20%。有人可能会担心这些消费信贷会不会变成未来的坏账,或消费者会不会最终失去购买能力。

Meanwhile, banks’ profits are sagging, even without the impact of fully accounting for dud loans. State-owned lenders collectively are making negative returns. Thirteen of them are described in a recent finance-ministry report as “severely stressed”. Demonetisation did indeed bring in lots of fresh deposits, but the bankers were then browbeaten into slashing the rates at which they lend, further denting their margins.

另一方面,即使不完全考虑坏账的影响,印度银行业的盈利水平也低迷不振。国有银行借贷的总体回报率为负值。印度财政部最近发布的一份报告称,有十三家国有银行的财务状况“极度紧张”。“废钞”确实让银行业得到了大量的新存款,不过,政府随后又逼迫银行下调贷款利率,使其盈利水平进一步下降。

The dearth of investment is in part due to a lack of animal spirits. Sales outside the oil and metals sector are up by a mere 5% year on year, compared with nearer 25% at the start of the decade. Capacity utilisation, at 72.4%, is low by historical standards: even if money were available, it is not clear many would want to borrow.

投资低迷的一部分原因在于企业缺乏投资意愿。除石油和金属业之外,印度企业目前的销售额增速同比只有5%,而十年前则接近25%。企业的开工率只有72.4%,处于历史低位。也就是说,即使银行贷款充足,很多企业也不愿意贷款。

Bankers, companies and policymakers once hoped the twin balance-sheet problem would eventually solve itself. Everyone’s incentive has been to look away and hope economic growth cures all ills. It has not: profits are in fact shrinking at the large borrowers, many of them in the infrastructure, mining, power and telecoms sectors. But banks have cut credit across the board, including to small businesses.

印度的银行、企业和决策层曾希望孪生资产负债表问题最终能自我化解。所有人都寄希望于他人,期待经济增长能解决一切恶疾,可是,现实却是贷款的大企业的盈利非但没有回升,反而出现下滑,其中很多属于基建、矿业、电力和电信部门企业。然而,这种情况下,银行却对大小企业一视同仁,全面削减了信贷。

Fixing this is not easy. Much of the hard work repairing corporate balance-sheets needs to be done by public-sector bank bosses, who should (yet seldom do) restructure and partly forgive loans. Many of them inherited the problems. Most defaulting tycoons are politically connected, which is how some got the loan to start with. Accepting that they cannot pay it back, and waiving part of the debt, might be seen as abetting crony capitalists. This can attract the attention of the many zealous agencies probing public spending.

解决这个难题并非易事。要修复企业资产负债表,国有银行必须做出努力,要改革银行结构,注销一部分贷款。可是,事实上,它们很少这样做,反而将问题一拖再拖,得过且过。多数欠债企业的大老板与政府关系密切,最初得到的贷款也依靠了政府关系。如果银行承认一部分贷款难以收回并加以注销,就可能会被视为支持裙带资本主义,将引起诸多公共支出调查机构的注意。

So it is far easier for a banker to make no decision—which often means having to extend further loans to keep the borrower afloat—and pretend all is well. It hardly helps that one former bank boss is languishing in jail while authorities probe a loan to Kingfisher Airlines, whose former boss is skulking in a mansion in Britain.

因此,对一个银行家来说,什么都不做,假装什么都没有发生,就是最轻松的选择。这意味着进一步提升贷款额,维持贷方继续运营。于是,以下情况也就司空见怪了:上任行长在监狱里度日如年,有关当局在调查印度的一家航空公司翠鸟航空的一笔贷款,而后者的前任却躲在英国某栋别墅里逍遥快活。

Writing off loans would be easier if banks could foreclose on companies, and take equity in them instead. Many potential investors are eager to work with banks to recapitalise good companies with bad balance-sheets. But without a proper bankruptcy code, which is only now coming into force and will take years to become effective, that is a fool’s errand.

如果银行能够收回贷款企业的抵押赎回权,转化为持有股份,那么贷款就更容易清除。很多潜在投资者都迫切希望和银行合作,调整拥有不良资产负债却信誉良好的企业的资本组成。但若缺乏正规的相关破产规定(目前正在实施中,还需多年才能拥有真正效力),聪明人对这些资本调整都会避而远之。

If banks help fix corporate balance-sheets, the large resulting losses will highlight how weak their own capital positions are. The government has promised to inject more money in the banks, but has put in only a small fraction of the $90bn Fitch, a ratings agency, argues they need to get onto an even keel. Nor will it countenance having less than a majority stake in the state-owned banks, limiting their ability to raise funds from private investors.

如果银行帮助企业解决资产负债问题,那么大额的贷款支出将会突出银行自身资产薄弱的问题。印度政府曾承诺要向银行注入更多资金,却仅从900亿美元中投入一小部分资金。惠誉(Fitch)评级机构认为银行需要平稳发展,同时不支持政府在国有银行中持有少数股权,限制其向私人投资者筹资资金的能力。

One way to break the logjam would be to set up a “bad bank” that would take the dodgiest loans off banks’ balance-sheets, leaving them free to focus on making new loans. Viral Acharya, a new deputy governor at the RBI, recently proposed ways to facilitate the transfer of non-performing loans off banks’ balance-sheets—essentially, giving cover to bankers who cut sensible deals. The government’s chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian, has suggested a bad bank run by the private sector.

打破僵局的方法之一就是成立一个“烂账银行”,专门处理其它银行的不良资产,修复其资产负债,让银行能专注提供新的贷款。印度新任央行副行长阿查里亚(Viral Acharya)近期提出帮助转移银行资产负债表上不良贷款的方法:说白了,就是掩护银行抹去部分正当交易。印度首席经济顾问阿文德·萨勃拉曼尼亚(Arvind Subramanian)建议成立一个民营的“烂账银行”。

Problematic as it is, at least the Indian banking sector is relatively small compared with the size of the overall economy, and its bad debts are concentrated. A database put together by Ashish Gupta at Credit Suisse, a bank, shows that over $100bn of the dud loans lie with just ten borrowers. That should simplify the co-ordination of any deal, even if the loans are spread across many banks.

尽管印度银行业问题重重, 相比印度的整体经济运行,银行业所占比重较小,坏账也很集中。根据自己整理的数据,投资银行瑞士信贷(Credit Suisse)的阿西斯·古普塔(Ashish Gupta)表示,超过1000亿的不良贷款都集中于十个贷方。这就使得借贷双方更容易协商,即使贷款跨越诸多银行,也比较容易达成协议。

However, the crucial element in deciding who bears the losses—setting the price at which the bad bank would buy the assets—is fiendishly difficult. What price a loan secured against a half-built bridge in Gujarat? Lots of people would have to make decisions they have expertly dodged for years. Worse, federal elections are due in 2019, and setting up bad banks takes time. Bailing out banks and tycoons would not play well at the polls. The temptation will be to give it more time—and pay a yet higher bill later.

然而,决定谁来承担损失的关键,也就是决定“烂账银行”收买资产的定价是一项既困难又残忍事情。比如:古吉拉特邦(Gujarat)施工一半的桥的贷款值多少钱?到时,很多人都将必须做出决定,即使他们此前曾巧妙逃避了多年。更糟的是,印度的联邦大选将在2019年举行,而建立“烂账银行”却需要时间。可是,在竞选时为银行和企业大亨提供担保是不讨好的。到时候,这一问题又会继续拖下去,印度也将付出更高代价。

译者:雷琰

审校:李博文

编辑:翻吧君

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