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美联储按计划加息 不受贸易战影响

美联储按计划加息 不受贸易战影响

英国《金融时报》 萨姆•弗莱明 华盛顿报道
2018.09.27 12:00
美联储(Federal Reserve)今年第三次提高了短期利率,并暗示将继续推进逐步收紧货币政策的计划,即便央行官员们面临白宫要求其将借款成本保持在低水平的压力,以及围绕对华贸易战的担忧。

联邦公开市场委员会(FOMC)再度将其关键利率的目标区间提高0.25点,至2%-2.25%,这是当前周期的第八次加息,同时预测将在12月开会时再一次加息。

美联储删除了之前有关保持货币政策“宽松”的保证,这家美国央行正在移除它在危机期间实施的经济刺激。美联储政策制定者发布的中位数预测显示今年将再加息一次,之后在2019年加息三次,2020年加息一次——与之前的预期一致。

随着失业率跌向数十年来的低点,工资上涨加速至九年来最快速度,同时第三季度美国经济年化增长率据估计将超过4%,美国央行坚持收紧政策的路线。唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)决定对近2000亿美元中国输美商品加征关税削弱了一部分美国企业的信心,但美联储在会后声明中没有提及贸易担忧。

相反,美联储对经济做出了乐观的最新评估,预测今年将增长3%以上,称活动增长和就业增长强劲,支出和企业投资也是如此。这家央行称,经济前景面临的风险仍然“大致平衡”。

利率达到中性水平(既不会提振也不会抑制增长)的前景,已经引发了一场辩论,焦点问题是为了防止经济过热,官员们希望在多大程度上进一步提高利率?一些美联储官员认为,为了回应强劲的金融市场,高于趋势线的增长,就业市场的不断趋紧,以及已基本上回归央行设定的2%目标的通胀,应该将利率提高到限制性的水平。

其他人希望在利率达到中性水平后暂停。对于美联储删除“宽松”措辞的决定,一些投资者可能会解读为美联储也许不需要进一步大幅加息的信号,因为当前利率已相当接近中性水平。然而,一些官员指出了资产价值和企业借款不断飙升,视其为金融稳定风险上升的证据,这加强了进一步收紧的论点。

最新预测的中位数似乎表明,美联储目标区间的中间值将在2020年达到3.4%的峰值,并在2021年保持在该水平。这高于美联储对长期利率水平的估计,后者已微升至3%。

近期加息的背景是唐纳德•特朗普总统怨言不断;他已放话称,对美联储收紧政策“不感到振奋”。使背景进一步复杂化的是白宫的贸易政策;在之前钢铝关税的基础上,白宫已对2000亿美元的中国输美商品加征10%的关税。在美东时间周三下午两点半开始举行的记者会上,美联储主席杰伊•鲍威尔(Jay Powell)很可能被问到贸易政策的潜在影响。

译者/和风

以下为此文英文原文:Fed raises rates despite trade concerns

By Sam Fleming in Washington
The Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for a third time this year and signalled it will forge ahead with plans to gradually tighten policy even as central bankers face White House pressure for low borrowing costs and concerns over the trade war with China.

The Federal Open Market Committee boosted the target range for its key rate by another quarter point to 2 to 2.25 per cent, in the eighth increase of the current cycle, while teeing up a further increase at its meeting in December.

The Fed dropped previous assurances that policy is “accommodative” as it removes the economic stimulus it put in place during the crisis. Median forecasts released by the Fed’s policymakers pointed to one more rate rise this year, followed by three increases in 2019 and another in 2020 — in line with previous expectations.

The US central bank is staying on course for tighter policy as unemployment heads toward multi-decade lows, wage growth accelerates to its quickest pace in nine years, and estimates point to annualised third-quarter growth exceeding 4 per cent. Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on nearly $200bn of Chinese imports has dented confidence among some US businesses, but the Fed made no reference to trade worries in its post-meeting statement.

Instead, it gave a bullish update on the economy, which it expects to grow by more than 3 per cent this year, saying activity growth and job gains have been strong, as have spending and corporate investment. Risks to the outlook remain “roughly balanced,” it said.

The prospect of rates reaching neutral levels — those that neither boost the economy nor hold it back — has opened up a debate over the extent to which officials want to clamp down on the economy by increasing them further. Some Fed officials have argued that rates should be lifted into restrictive territory as they respond to strong financial markets, above-trend growth, steady tightening in the jobs market and inflation that has largely returned to the central bank’s 2 per cent target.

Others want to see a pause when rates are at neutral. The Fed’s decision to drop the “accommodative” language may be taken by some investors as a signal that the Fed may not need to lift rates that much further given their proximity to neutral settings. However some officials have pointed to surging asset values and corporate borrowing as evidence that financial stability risks are rising, adding to arguments in favour of further tightening.

The median of the latest forecasts suggest the middle of the Fed’s target range will peak at 3.4 per cent in 2020, remaining at that level in 2021. That is above the Fed’s estimate for the longer-run level of the rate, which edged up to 3 per cent.

The rate rises have come against a background of griping from president Donald Trump, who has said he is “not thrilled” by the Fed’s tightening policy. Further complicating the backdrop are White House trade policies that impose 10 per cent tariffs on $200bn of Chinese products, on top of previous levies on steel and aluminium imports. Fed chairman Jay Powell is likely to be asked about the trade implications when he holds a press conference starting at 230pm eastern time today.
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