The 90% economy, revisited 再论九成经济

2020.10


A recovery is taking shape—but it is extraordinarily uneven across both industries and countries
复苏渐成气候,但行业间以及国家间的差异极大 
 

The 90% economy, revisited 再论九成经济 - 经济学人


THE WORST day of the covid-19 pandemic, at least from an economic perspective, was Good Friday. On April 10th lockdowns in many countries were at their most severe, confining people to their homes and crushing activity. Global GDP that day was 20% lower than it would otherwise have been (see chart 1). Since then governments have lifted lockdowns. Economies have begun to recover. Analysts are pencilling in global GDP growth of 7% or more in the third quarter of this year, compared with the second.
至少从经济角度来看,耶稣受难日是新冠疫情期间最糟糕的一天。4月10日这一天,许多国家还在实施最严苛的封锁措施,把人们限制在家中并取消了各类活动。当天的全球GDP比假设没有疫情的水平低20%(见图表1)。之后,各国政府陆续解除封锁。经济也开始复苏。分析师预计,今年第三季度全球GDP将比第二季度增长7%或以上。 
That may all sound remarkably V-shaped, but the world is still a long way from normal. Governments continue to enforce social-distancing measures to keep the virus at bay. These reduce output—by allowing fewer diners in restaurants at a time, say, or banning spectators from sports arenas. People remain nervous about being infected. Economic uncertainty among both consumers and firms is near record highs—and this very probably explains companies’ reluctance to invest (see chart 2).
听起来世界似乎已进入明显的V型反弹,但实际上离回归正常还远得很。为遏制病毒蔓延,各国政府仍在实施社交疏离措施。限制同时在餐馆用餐的人数或禁止观众进入体育场馆之类的措施减少了经济产出。人们仍然担心受到感染。消费者和企业对经济的不确定情绪接近历史最高水平——这很可能也是企业不愿投资的原因(见图表2)。
Calculations by Goldman Sachs, a bank, suggest that social-distancing measures continue to reduce global GDP by 7-8%—roughly in line with what The Economist argued in April, when we coined the term “90% economy” to describe what would happen once lockdowns began to be lifted. Yet although the global economy is operating at about nine-tenths capacity, there is a lot of variation between industries and countries. Some are doing relatively—and surprisingly—well, others dreadfully.
高盛的计算表明,社交疏离措施继续使全球GDP减少7%至8%——这与本刊在4月的观点基本一致,当时我们提出了“九成经济”这个词来描述封锁开始解除之后情况会如何。不过,尽管全球经济运转已恢复了九成,但行业间以及国家间的差异很大。有些出人意料地更好些,有些糟糕透顶。
Take the respective performance of goods and services. Goods have bounced back fast. Global retail sales had recovered their pre-pandemic level by July, according to research by JPMorgan Chase, another bank. Armed with $2trn-worth of cash handouts from governments since the virus struck, consumers across the world have stocked up on things to make it bearable to be at home more often, from laptops to dumbbells, which partly explains why world trade has held up better than economists had expected. Global factory output has made up nearly all the ground it lost during the lockdowns.
分别来看商品和服务两方面的表现。商品产销迅速反弹。摩根大通的调研显示,至7月份,全球商品零售额已恢复到疫情前的水平。自疫情爆发以来,在各地政府2万亿美元现金救助的支持下,世界各地的消费者纷纷囤积从笔记本电脑到哑铃的各种商品,以缓解长时间闭门不出之苦,这在一定程度上解释了为什么世界贸易的表现超过了经济学家的预期。全球工厂产出已接近收复了封城期间的全部失地。
Services activity is a lot further below its pre-pandemic level, largely because such industries are vulnerable to people avoiding crowds. The number of diners in restaurants remains 30-40% lower than normal worldwide, according to data from OpenTable, a booking platform. The number of scheduled flights is about half what it was just before the pandemic struck.
服务业活动与疫情前水平的差距要大得多,主要是因为这些行业非常容易受到人们避免挤到一起的影响。订餐平台OpenTable的数据显示,全球到餐厅就餐的人数仍比正常水平低30%至40%。定期航班的数量只有疫情爆发前的一半左右。
The variation in economic performance between countries is even more striking. It is common for growth rates to diverge in downturns. But the size of this year’s collapse in output means that the differences between countries’ growth rates are enormous. On September 16th the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, issued fresh economic forecasts. Like other forecasters—such as the Federal Reserve, which on the same day published new projections for the American economy—it has become less gloomy in recent months.
各个国家之间经济表现的差异还要显著。在经济衰退期,各国增速分化是常事。但由于今年经济产出大幅下滑,各国经济增速间的差异巨大。9月16日,成员主要为发达国家的经合组织发布了最新的经济预测。和美联储(也在当天公布了对美国经济的新预测)等其他预测机构一样,经合组织在最近几个月悲观情绪有所缓解。
Still, the growth gap between best and worst performers in the G7 group of countries in 2020 is expected to be 6.7 percentage points, far wider than that during the last global downturn a decade ago. Of the big economies, only China is set to expand in 2020. Some countries, such as America and South Korea, face a downturn but hardly a catastrophic one (see chart 3). Britain, by contrast, looks to be in line for its deepest recession since the Great Frost of 1709.
不过,在七国集团当中,2020年表现最好和最差的国家之间的增速差距预计将达到6.7个百分点,远远高于10年前上一次全球经济衰退时的差距。在大型经济体中,只有中国预计将在2020年录得增长。美国和韩国等国家面临衰退,但还算不上灾难(见图表3)。相比之下,英国似乎将迎来自1709年“大霜冻”以来最严重的衰退。 
Some economists contend that the huge gap between countries is a statistical mirage, reflecting different methods of computing GDP figures. In Britain, for instance, the way statisticians tot up government spending means that school closures and cancelled hospital appointments have a bigger impact on GDP than elsewhere. But this effect is small—the bulk of the fall in output has come from the private sector.
一些经济学家认为,国家之间的巨大差距只是统计上的假象,反映了不同的GDP计算方法而已。例如,按照英国统计政府支出的方法,关闭学校和医院取消预约对GDP的冲击比其他地方更大。但是这个因素的影响很小——经济产出减少的大部分还是发生在私营部门。
Instead, performance comes down to three factors. The first is industrial composition. Countries such as Greece and Italy, which rely on retail and hospitality, always looked more vulnerable than, say, Germany. Its large manufacturing sector has benefited from the global goods recovery.
相反,经济表现可以归结为三个因素。首先是产业结构。希腊和意大利等依赖零售业和酒店招待业的国家看上去总是比德国这样的国家更脆弱。德国庞大的制造业已经从全球商品复苏中获益。
Second is confidence, which appears to be determined by a country’s experience under lockdown. Britain’s poor economic performance is likely to be related to the government’s poor handling of the pandemic. Britons seem more nervous than other Europeans about venturing outside.
其次是信心,这似乎取决于一个国家在封锁期间的经历。英国糟糕的经济表现很可能与政府应对疫情不力有关。英国人似乎比其他欧洲人更加不敢走出家门。
The third factor is stimulus. America’s lawmakers may be unable to agree on a top-up, but they have already enacted the world’s largest rescue package, relative to the size of its economy. The OECD thinks it will be one of the better-performing rich countries this year.
第三个因素是刺激政策。美国的议员或许无法就额外刺激措施达成一致,但他们毕竟已经通过了全球最大的一揽子救助方案(相对于其经济规模而言)。经合组织认为美国将是今年表现相对较好的发达国家之一。
What next for the 90% economy? Some authorities have been forced to order further lockdowns. But others may be able to calibrate social-distancing measures better without jeopardising output. That might bring the world closer to, say, a 95% economy. Indeed, the OECD expects global GDP to recover further this year.
接下来,九成经济将何去何从?一些国家政府已被迫下令实施进一步封锁。但其他国家或许能够更好地校正社交疏离措施而不影响产出。这可能会让世界经济进一步恢复,比方说接近于9.5成经济。事实上,经合组织预计今年全球GDP将进一步回升。
It may be tempting to think that a vaccine, if it could be rolled out widely enough, would quickly restore normality. But there will be scars. Firms’ reluctance to invest today will mean less productive capital in the future. A growing number of American workers believe they will not be returning to their old jobs. Reallocating redundant resources towards more productive firms will take time. The Fed’s rate-setters reckon unemployment will not return to its pre-pandemic rate of 4% until 2023; analysts at Goldman Sachs think it will do so only in 2025, even though they are optimistic that a vaccine will soon be widely distributed. Much as the disease itself has long-lasting effects, the covid-induced downturn will leave the world economy feeling subpar for some time to come.
人们可能会认为,只要有了疫苗并广泛分发,世界经济就会迅速恢复正常。但疫情会留下伤疤。企业现在不愿意投资,意味着将来的生产资本会减少。越来越多的美国劳动者认为他们将不会回到原来的工作岗位。把过剩的资源重新分配给生产率更高的公司需要时间。设定利率的美联储官员认为,失业率在2023年之前都不会恢复到疫情前的4%的水平;高盛的分析师则预计这个时间点在2025年,尽管他们乐观地认为疫苗很快就能广泛分发了。正如新冠肺炎本身会有长期的遗留影响,疫情引发的衰退也会在未来一段时间内使世界经济继续处于亚健康状态。