Present tense, future market 现在的争斗,未来的市场

2020.9


As America tries to cut links, China is opening its door to foreign capital
当美国试图切断联系时,中国向外资敞开大门 

 

经济学人


IF YOU WANT a sure-fire way to get rejected, try asking Western financial firms for interviews about how geopolitical tensions have affected their strategies in China. “This topic carries some sensitivities,” one bank demurs. “We don’t want to end up in a Trump tweet,” says another. The Economist sought interviews with 15 global banks, insurers and asset managers. All declined to speak—except on background.
要想保证自己的采访被拒绝,你可以请西方金融公司谈谈地缘政治的紧张局势对其中国战略的影响。“这个话题有点敏感。”一位银行家婉拒。“我们可不想出现在特朗普的推文中。”另一位说。本刊向15家国际银行、保险公司和资产管理公司提出了采访请求,它们都拒绝了——除非是以匿名来源发表意见。
Such bashfulness from the swaggering titans of finance is revealing in itself. They are on unfamiliar ground. For years the American government called on China to open up to foreign capital, while China dragged its feet. Suddenly, these roles have been reversed. President Donald Trump’s administration wants global financiers to pull back from China. But China is enticing them in, creating opportunities that few had expected to come so quickly, if ever.
本来趾高气扬的金融巨人们变得这么扭捏,本身就很说明问题。它们正面对陌生的局面。多年来,美国政府一直呼吁中国向外资开放,而中国一直拖拖拉拉。突然之间,角色颠倒了。特朗普政府希望全球金融机构撤出中国。但中国却在吸引它们进入,创造出了各种机遇。没人想到会出现这样的机遇,而且还来的这么快。
It has made for a disconnect between the political and the financial realms. Many observers focus on the decoupling between America and China. Yet for those managing the trillions of dollars that flow through global markets every day, the main trend looks more like coupling. Consider these moves by investment and commercial banks in the past half-year alone. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley took majority control of their Chinese securities ventures. HSBC acquired full control of its Chinese life-insurance venture. Citi received a coveted custody license to serve institutional investors in China. Among asset managers, BlackRock received approval to sell its own mutual funds in China and Vanguard decided to shift its Asian headquarters to Shanghai.
这造成了政治和金融领域的脱节。许多观察家都在关注中美脱钩。然而,在那些管理着每天在全球市场上流动的万亿计美元的人看来,主要趋势更像是挂钩。来看看投资银行和商业银行单是在过去半年的动向。高盛和摩根士丹利获得了自己在中国的合资证券公司的多数控股权。汇丰的中国人寿保险业务变成了完全独资。花旗拿到了令人垂涎的托管牌照,可以在中国为机构投资者提供服务。在资产管理公司中,贝莱德(BlackRock)获批在中国销售自己的公募基金,而先锋集团(Vanguard)决定将其亚洲总部迁往上海。
Even more astonishing are the money flows. Roughly $200bn has entered China’s capital markets from abroad over the past year. Foreign holdings of Chinese stocks and bonds at the end of June were, respectively, 50% and 28% higher than a year earlier (see chart 1). Some of this reflects an inevitable pull as global index compilers such as MSCI add Chinese assets to their benchmarks; fund managers that passively track these benchmarks must allocate cash in line with the new weightings. But it is more than that. China has made it much easier for foreigners to enter its markets, and it offers two things that are rare in the world at the moment: GDP growth and interest rates higher than zero.
资金流动的趋势还要更惊人。过去一年里,约有2000亿美元从国外进入中国资本市场。截至6月底,外国持有的中国股票和债券分别比去年同期增加了50%和28%(见图表1)。随着MSCI等全球指数编制公司将中国资产纳入其基准指数,这些趋势一定程度上反映了中国市场难以避免的吸引力。被动跟踪这些基准的基金管理公司必须按照新的权重分配资金。但中国吸引资金的原因不止于此。中国已经大幅提升了外国人进入中国市场的便利度,而且还提供了眼下在世界其他地方罕见的两样东西:GDP增长和高于零的利率。 
Despite talk of a new cold war, there are two reasons to think that coupling, not decoupling, will remain the better description of Sino-American financial ties. The first is China’s own actions. It is pursuing what Yu Yongding, a prominent economist, has described as a “linking strategy”, seeking to create more connections with foreign companies. Since late 2019 the government has lifted foreign ownership caps on asset managers, securities firms and life insurers. It has belatedly allowed MasterCard and PayPal to enter its payments industry. And it has let foreign ratings agencies cover more Chinese firms.
尽管舆论大谈新冷战,但有两个理由可以认为挂钩而非脱钩将仍然是对中美金融关系更恰当的描述。首先是中国自己的行动。它正在奉行著名的经济学家余永定所说的“联系策略”,力求与外国企业建立更多联系。自2019年底以来,中国政府取消了资产管理公司、证券公司和人寿保险公司的外资持股限制。万事达和PayPal终于获准进入中国支付市场。中国也已允许外国评级机构为更多的中国公司评级。
Even without the linking strategy, China has ample incentive to open its financial system more widely. Its current-account surplus has steadily narrowed as a share of GDP over the past decade (though it will soar this year because of the covid-19 impact); that puts pressure on it to attract more inflows through its capital account. At the same time reformist officials want greater foreign participation in the financial system. Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s former central-bank governor, has argued that just as competition from abroad helped make Chinese manufacturers world-class, so it can elevate the finance industry. Regulators also want companies to raise more funding by issuing bonds and stocks, to lessen reliance on bank lending.
即使没有这种联系策略,中国也有充足的动力进一步开放其金融体系。在过去十年中,中国的经常账户盈余占GDP比例一直在逐步降低(尽管由于新冠疫情的影响今年会大幅上升);这给中国带来了压力,需要通过其资本账户吸引更多的资金流入。同时,改革派官员希望外国资本更多地参与中国金融体系。中国前央行行长周小川认为,来自国外的竞争帮助了中国制造企业跻身世界一流行列,它同样也可以提升中国的金融业。监管机构也希望企业更多地通过发行债券和股票来融资,减少对银行贷款的依赖。
China’s regulatory relaxation dovetails with the second factor: the interests of foreign financial firms. The Chinese market is simply too big to ignore. The investable wealth of retail clients is projected to grow from about $24trn in 2018 to $41trn by 2023, according to Oliver Wyman, a consultancy. And few sophisticated, globally minded asset managers operate in China today.
中国放松监管的趋势与第二个因素相契合——外国金融公司的利益。中国市场实在太大了,它们没法置之不理。根据奥纬咨询(Oliver Wyman)的数据,零售客户的可投资财富预计将从2018年的约24万亿美元增加到2023年的41万亿美元。而现在,很少有经验丰富、具有全球视野的资产管理公司在中国开展业务。
Foreign institutions know better by now than to assume that the economy’s scale will directly translate into business for them. In the early 2000s China began opening its commercial-banking industry to foreigners, but their share of the market, always tiny, has shrunk over time, dipping to just about 1% of domestic-banking assets. They are bit players.
到了今天,外国机构已经更清楚了一点:中国经济规模大并不意味着自己就有了更多业务。本世纪的头几年,中国开始向外资开放自己的商业银行部门,但外资银行的市场份额一直都很小,而且还不断萎缩,直到仅是国内银行资产的1%左右,在市场上无足轻重。
Yet foreigners may fare better in the sectors newly open to them. No global bank can compete for deposits against the likes of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which boasts some 15,700 branches. Success in investment banking and asset management, however, is more related to experience than to sheer heft. Can an adviser help structure a cross-border acquisition? Can an asset manager offer the right interest-rate swaps to hedge currency exposure? “These are the areas where foreign firms feel they have an advantage,” says Mark Austen, head of the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a group that represents many of the world’s biggest financial institutions.
不过,外商在那些新近对它们开放的行业中可能会有更好的境遇。没有一家全球银行可与号称拥有约15,700家分支机构的中国工商银行之类的机构竞争存款业务。但投资银行和资产管理业务的成功更多倚赖经验而非超大规模。一家咨询公司能协助设计一宗跨国收购案的结构吗?一家资产管理公司能正确运用利率掉期来对冲货币风险吗?“在这些领域里,外国公司认为自己具有优势。”亚洲证券业与金融市场协会(Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association)的负责人马克•奥斯丁(Mark Austen)表示。该协会的成员包括许多全球规模最大的金融机构。
Not that China is going to make it easy. A taste of the potential complications came in the approval granted to BlackRock for a fund-management company. Unlike prior approvals for Chinese-owned entities, the regulator added a condition, demanding adherence to the Internet Security Law. BlackRock will need to store client data within China and authorities could demand access, likely forcing it to segregate its Chinese and global systems.
这倒不是说中国会让它们轻易成功。贝莱德在获批设立一家基金管理公司后就感受到了潜在的复杂性。与先前中资控股实体获得的批准不同,监管机构增加了一个条件,要求贝莱德遵守《网络安全法》。贝莱德将需要在中国境内存储客户数据,当局可能会要求访问权限,这可能迫使贝莱德将其中国系统与全球系统分隔开来。
Foreign firms will also face a ferocious battle with domestic firms on a playing field that is tilted against them. “They’ll never just completely open and be fine with us crushing the locals,” says one banker. State-owned firms will reserve their juiciest deals for domestic banks. The government is engineering mergers to create what it calls an “aircraft-carrier” investment bank to repel foreigners. And global asset managers will have little choice but to distribute their products through domestic banks and tech platforms. Chantal Grinderslev, founder of Majtildig, a Shanghai-based advisory firm, sees a split between foreign firms that commit capital to China for the long haul and those that are less patient. “If you have to be profitable in three years or less, this is not the market to enter,” she says. JPMorgan Chase, she notes, is on track to buy out the local partner in its asset-management venture for $1bn, a 50% premium over fair value. That is expensive, but it also testifies to the weight that Jamie Dimon, the banking colossus’s chief, places on China. “He is looking to build a real business,” she says.
外国公司还将在一个天平向另一方倾斜的环境中与中国公司激烈竞争。“它们永远不会完全开放,任由我们打垮本地企业。”一位银行家说。国有企业将把它们最有利可图的交易留给国内银行。中国政府正在策划合并以创建所谓的“航母级”投行来击退外国竞争者。而且全球资产管理公司别无选择,只能通过中国的银行和科技平台分销产品。总部位于上海的咨询公司Majtildig的创始人尚塔尔•格林德斯列夫(Chantal Grinderslev)认为外国公司可以分为两类,一类基于长期打算对中国投资,另一类没那么多耐心。她说:“如果你一定要在三年或更短的时间内实现盈利,那就不要进中国市场。”她指出摩根大通正在推进以10亿美元收购其资产管理业务中本地合作伙伴的全部股份,溢价50%。这个价格很高,但也证明了这家银行业巨头的CEO杰米•戴蒙(Jamie Dimon)对中国的重视。“他是要打造真正的业务。”她说。
The political tussle with America looms over these corporate decisions. “Global headquarters asked us to develop optimistic, realistic and pessimistic scenarios,” says the CEO in China of an American bank. “I laughed because there’s no point thinking of things getting better. It’s binary. Either we can continue in China or we can’t.” So far things have clearly remained on the remain-in-China side of the equation. America’s financial measures against China have thrown some sand in the gears but have not stopped them from turning.
中美政治纷争的乌云笼罩在公司决策之上。“全球总部要求我们分别规划乐观、现实和悲观情境,”一家美国银行的中国区CEO说,“我一听就笑了,因为思考情况会改善是没有意义的。现实非此即彼。我们要么能继续在中国做生意,要么不能。”到目前为止,显然局面还倾向“留在中国”这一端。美国针对中国的金融手段虽然造成了一些不便,但并未让现有体系完全停止运转。
The Trump administration has blocked a federal-government pension plan from investing in Chinese stocks. It has threatened to delist Chinese firms from American stock exchanges. And it has placed sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. All three moves are, in the grand scheme, mild. The government pension plan that now excludes Chinese stocks represents just 3% of American pension assets. China has until 2022 to stave off the threatened delistings, and has already proposed a compromise, giving American auditors more access to its companies’ books. In the meantime, the value of Chinese listings on Wall Street has risen this year (see chart 2). As for the sanctions, they can be painful for individuals, but would have harmed China much more if they had named entire banks.
特朗普政府已经禁止一个联邦政府养老金计划投资于中国股票。它威胁要让在美国交易所上市的中国公司退市。它还对香港和新疆的中国官员实施了制裁。总体来看,这三个举措都算温和。现在不能再投资中国股票的联邦政府养老金计划仅占美国养老金资产的3%。在2022年之前还不会有中国公司被退市,而且中国已经提出了一项和解方案,给予美国审计师更多权限来查看中国公司的账目。与此同时,中国公司今年在华尔街上市的总体市值上升(见图表2)。至于制裁,它们会让一些个体感到痛苦,但如果是针对一家家银行整体采取行动,对中国造成的伤害会大得多。 
It is only prudent for firms to prepare for America to take a tougher line against China. But the implications in the financial sector are different from, say, the industrial sector. Factories require a large fixed investment and carefully configured supply chains. Investments in bonds or equities are, by contrast, much easier to adjust—at least so long as China lets investors move cash out of its markets. Even for firms building up brokerages or asset-management operations in China, the investments are small compared with their global footprints. The Chinese securities firm controlled by UBS, for instance, held just 5bn yuan ($730m) in assets at the end of 2019—bigger than any other foreign-owned securities firm in China but barely 0.2% of UBS’s global investment-banking assets.
企业需要为美国采取更强硬的对华措施做准备,这是一种谨慎的做法。但是,金融领域受到的影响不同于工业等领域。工厂需要大量的固定投资和精心配置的供应链。相比之下,债券或股票投资调整起来要容易得多——至少在中国允许投资者将资金撤出其市场的情况下是这样。即使是在中国建立经纪或资产管理业务的公司,其投资相比它们的全球资产规模也只是一小部分。例如,瑞银在中国的控股证券公司到2019年底仅持有50亿元(7.3亿美元)的资产,已高于中国其他任何一家外资证券公司,但仅占瑞银全球投行资产的0.2%。
The one American action that could almost instantaneously derail financial coupling would be to block China from the dollar-payments system. The administration could do so by pressuring SWIFT, a Belgium-based messaging system that underpins most cross-border transfers, to boot out Chinese members. Or it could order the big banks which clear dollar payments in America to stop serving Chinese banks.
美国有一个几乎可以立即扰乱金融挂钩的行动,就是把中国驱除出美元支付体系。特朗普政府可以向总部在比利时的报文传输系统SWIFT(支持着大多数跨境支付)施压,让它踢走中国会员。特朗普政府也可以下令让在美国结算美元支付的大银行停止为中资银行服务。
Chinese officials, alarmed by these once-unthinkable possibilities, have held meetings in recent months to discuss how they might respond. They have talked about promoting the yuan as an alternative to the dollar and home-grown payment networks as alternatives to SWIFT. In practice, neither would help much. The yuan, constrained by capital controls, remains a weakling in global finance, while China’s would-be SWIFT replacements have failed to gain traction.
这些曾经不可想象的可能性让中国官员感到担忧,他们近几个月多次召开会议讨论对策。他们讨论过推动人民币替代美元,以及推广自己的支付网络替代SWIFT。实际操作起来,两者都帮不了多少忙。受资本管制的限制,人民币在全球金融中的地位仍然较低,而中国想用来替代SWIFT的系统未能获得影响力。
The biggest constraint on America is the damage that it would suffer itself. Cutting China off from the dollar would undermine not just Chinese banks but also China-based companies that account for more than a tenth of the world’s exports. This would trigger a collapse in international trade, massively disrupt supply chains and, quite possibly, deepen the global recession. The fact that American policymakers must contemplate such consequences is an argument in favour of China’s linking strategy. “The only option is more openness,” says Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Group in Hong Kong. “You must create a situation where your counterpart has more to lose.” For foreign financiers in China, that, oddly enough, is music to their ears.
约束美国的最大因素是其措施对自己的反噬。切断中国的美元支付通道不仅会损害中资银行的利益,还会损害占到全球出口额超过十分之一的基于中国的企业。这将引发国际贸易的崩溃,严重破坏供应链,并很有可能加剧全球经济衰退。美国的政策制定者确实必须掂量这种后果,这一点支撑了中国的联系战略。“唯一的选择就是更加开放,”在香港的麦格理银行(Macquarie Group)的首席中国经济学家胡伟俊说,“必须创造一种让你的对手代价更高的局面。”说来也怪,对于在中国的外国金融家来说,这话却很中听。