Why the Global Recession Could Last a Long Time

为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

梵蒂冈城的圣彼得广场(3月19日)。
Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

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LONDON — The world is almost certainly ensnared in a devastating recession delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.

伦敦——几乎可以肯定,世界陷入了由新冠病毒大流行带来的毁灭性衰退。

Now, fears are growing that the downturn could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially feared — potentially enduring into next year, and even beyond — as governments intensify restrictions on business to halt the spread of the pandemic, and as fear of the virus reconfigures the very concept of public space, impeding consumer-led economic growth.

随着政府为了遏制疫情而加强对商业的限制,加上对病毒的恐惧重新定义了公共空间的概念,阻碍了消费者主导的经济增长,现在人们越来越担心经济低迷可能比最初担心的更严重、更持久——可能持续到明年,乃至明年之后。

The pandemic is above all a public health emergency. So long as human interaction remains dangerous, business cannot responsibly return to normal. And what was normal before may not be anymore. People may be less inclined to jam into crowded restaurants and concert halls even after the virus is contained.

大流行首先是一种公共卫生紧急情况。只要人与人之间的互动依然危险,商业就不能保证恢复正常。以前正常的事情现在可能不再正常了。即使在病毒得到控制之后,人们也不太愿意挤进人头攒动的餐馆和音乐厅。

The abrupt halt of commercial activity threatens to impose economic pain so profound and enduring in every region of the world at once that recovery could take years. The losses to companies, many already saturated with debt, risk triggering a financial crisis of cataclysmic proportions.

商业活动的突然停止,可能会立即给世界所有地区带来深刻而持久的经济痛苦,以至于复苏可能需要数年时间。许多公司已经负债累累,这些损失有可能引发一场规模巨大的金融危机。

Stock markets have reflected the economic alarm. The S&P 500 in the United States fell over 4 percent on Wednesday, as investors braced for worse conditions ahead. That followed a brutal March, during which a whipsawing S&P 500 fell 12.5 percent, in its worst month since October 2008.

股市反映了经济危机的警报。美国标准普尔500指数周三下跌逾4%,投资者则准备迎接更糟糕的情况。在此之前,该指数曾在3月大跌12.5%,成为2008年10月以来表现最差的一个月。

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

周一,西班牙巴塞罗那领取食品券的队伍。
Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

“I feel like the 2008 financial crisis was just a dry run for this,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist and co-author of a history of financial crises, “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.”

“我觉得2008年的金融危机只是这一次的演习,”哈佛大学经济学家、金融危机史著作《这次不一样——八个世纪的金融愚行》(This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly)的合著者肯尼斯·S·罗格夫(Kenneth S. Rogoff)说。

“This is already shaping up as the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years,” he said. “Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it’s certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises.”

“这已成为100多年来全球经济有记录以来最严重的下跌,”他说。“一切都取决于它会持续多久,如果持续很长时间,它肯定会成为所有金融危机的根源。”

The situation looks uniquely dire in developing countries, which have seen investment rush for the exits this year, sending currencies plummeting, forcing people to pay more for imported food and fuel, and threatening governments with insolvency — all of this while the pandemic itself threatens to overwhelm inadequate medical systems.

发展中国家的情况尤其糟糕,它们今年出现了投资热退潮,这导致货币暴跌,迫使人们为进口食品和燃料支付更高的价格,令政府面临破产的危险——除此之外,大流行本身有可能压垮不健全的医疗体系。

Among investors, a hopeful scenario holds currency: The recession will be painful but short-lived, giving way to a robust recovery this year. The global economy is in a temporary deep freeze, the logic goes. Once the virus is contained, enabling people to return to offices and shopping malls, life will snap back to normal. Jets will fill with families going on merely deferred vacations. Factories will resume, fulfilling saved up orders.

在投资者看来,一种充满希望的前景依然存在:经济衰退将是痛苦而短暂的,今年将迎来强劲的复苏。从逻辑上讲,全球经济处于暂时的深度冻结之中。一旦病毒得到控制,人们可以重返办公室和购物中心,生活将恢复正常。飞机上满是推迟度假的家庭。工厂将恢复生产,完成积压的订单。

But even after the virus is tamed — and no one really knows when that will be — the world that emerges is likely to be choked with trouble, challenging the recovery. Mass joblessness exacts societal costs. Widespread bankruptcy could leave industry in a weakened state, depleted of investment and innovation.

但是,即使等病毒平息下去——谁也不知道具体什么时候能平息——我们接下来面对的可能是一个苦难丛生的世界,阻挠复苏的进程。大规模失业使社会付出代价。大范围破产可能会使工业处于虚弱状态,使投资和创新枯竭。

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

伦敦特拉法加广场(3月27日)。
Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Households may remain agitated and risk averse, making them prone to thrift. Some social distancing measures could remain indefinitely. Consumer spending amounts to roughly two-thirds of economic activity worldwide. If anxiety endures and people are reluctant to spend, expansion will be limited — especially as continued vigilance against the coronavirus may be required for years.

家庭可能会持续焦虑并厌恶风险,倾向于节俭行事。一些保持社交距离的措施可能会无限期存在。消费者支出约占全球经济活动的三分之二。如果焦虑持续,人们会不愿花钱,扩张将是有限的——特别是在需要多年持续警惕冠状病毒的情况下。

“The psychology won’t just bounce back,” said Charles Dumas, chief economist at TS Lombard, an investment research firm in London. “People have had a real shock. The recovery will be slow, and certain behavior patterns are going to change, if not forever at least for a long while.”

“人们的心理不会就这么反弹,”伦敦投资研究公司TS Lombard的首席经济学家查尔斯·杜马斯(Charles Dumas)表示。“人们受到了真正的冲击。恢复将是缓慢的,某些行为模式将会改变,即使不是永远,至少也是在很长的一段时间内。”

Rising stock prices in the United States have in recent years propelled spending. Millions of people are now filing claims for unemployment benefits, while wealthier households are absorbing the reality of substantially diminished retirement savings.

近年来,美国不断上涨的股价推动了消费。数以百万计的人正在申请失业救济,而富裕的家庭正在消化退休储蓄大幅减少的现实。

Americans boosted their rates of savings significantly in the years after the Great Depression. Fear and tarnished credit limited reliance on borrowing. That could happen again.

在大萧条之后的几年里,美国人大幅提高了储蓄率。恐惧和信用受损限制了对借贷的依赖。这种情况可能会再次发生。

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

北京的高峰时段车流量开始回升(3月17日)。
Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

“The loss of income on the labor front is tremendous,” Mr. Dumas said. “The loss of value in the wealth effect is also very strong.”

“劳工方的收入损失是巨大的,”杜马斯说。“财富效应中的价值损失也非常剧烈。”

The sense of alarm is enhanced by the fact that every inhabited part of the globe is now in trouble.

地球上每个有人居住的地方现在都有麻烦,这进一步加剧了恐慌。

The United States, the world’s largest economy, is almost certainly in a recession. So is Europe. So probably are significant economies like Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. China, the world’s second-largest economy, is expected to grow by only 2 percent this year, according to TS Lombard, the research firm.

作为世界上最大的经济体,美国几乎肯定处于经济衰退之中。欧洲也是如此。因此,加拿大、日本、韩国、新加坡、巴西、阿根廷和墨西哥等重要经济体可能也是如此。据研究公司TS Lombard称,世界第二大经济体中国今年的经济增长率预计仅为2%。

For years, a segment of the economic orthodoxy advanced the notion that globalization came with a built-in insurance policy against collective disaster. So long as some part of the world economy was growing, that supposedly moderated the impact of a downturn in any one country.

多年来,一部分正统经济学家提出了这样的观点:全球化带来了一种防范集体灾难的内在原则。只要世界经济的某个部分在增长,就可以缓和任何一个国家经济衰退的影响。

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

悉尼海港和悉尼歌剧院(3月26)。
Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

The global recession that followed the financial crisis of 2008 beggared that thesis. The current downturn presents an even more extreme event — a worldwide emergency that has left no safe haven.

2008年金融危机之后的全球经济衰退令这样的论点破产。当前的不景气呈现出更加极端的事件——一场全球性的紧急事件,哪里都没有安全的庇护所。

When the pandemic emerged, initially in central China, it was viewed as a substantial threat to that economy. Even as China closed itself off, conventional wisdom held that, at worst, large international companies like Apple and General Motors would suffer lost sales to Chinese consumers, while manufacturers elsewhere would struggle to secure parts made in Chinese factories.

疫情最初在中国中部出现时,就被视为对该国经济的重大威胁。传统观念认为,即使中国将自己封锁,最糟糕的情况顶多是苹果和通用汽车等大型国际公司对中国消费者的销售有损失,其他地方的制造商则将难以获得在中国工厂制造的零件。

But then the pandemic spread to Italy and eventually across Europe, threatening factories on the continent. Then came government policies that essentially locked down modern life, business included, while the virus spread to the United States.

但是随后疫情蔓延到意大利,并最终传播至整个欧洲,威胁到欧洲大陆的工厂。随后实施的政府政策令包括商业在内的现代生活陷入实质上的停滞,而此时病毒正在美国蔓延。

“Now, anywhere you look in the global economy we are seeing a hit to domestic demand on top of those supply chain impacts,” said Innes McFee, managing director of macro and investor services at Oxford Economics in London. “It’s incredibly worrying.”

“现在,在全球经济的任何地方,我们都能看到,除了这些供应链受影响之外,国内需求也受到打击,”位于伦敦的牛津经济(Oxford Economics)宏观和投资者服务部常务董事英尼斯·麦克菲(Innes McFee)说。“这极其令人担忧。”

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

布鲁克林的丹波区(3月28日)。
Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Oxford Economics estimates that the global economy will contract marginally this year, before improving by June. But this view is likely to be revised down sharply, Mr. McFee said.

牛津经济估计,今年全球经济将略有收缩,然后在6月份有所改善。但是,麦克菲说,这种观点可能会改变为大幅下行。

Trillions of dollars in credit and loan guarantees dispensed by central banks and governments in the United States and Europe have perhaps cushioned the most developed economies. That may prevent large numbers of businesses from failing, say economists, while ensuring that workers who lose jobs will be able to stay current on their bills.

美国和欧洲的中央银行和政府派发了数以万亿计的美元信贷担保,这可能给最发达的经济体提供了缓冲。经济学家说,这可以防止大量企业倒闭,同时确保失业的工人能够维持生计。

“I am attached to the notion that this is a temporary crisis,” said Marie Owens Thomsen, global chief economist at Indosuez Wealth Management in Geneva. “You hit the pause button, and then you hit the start button, and the machine starts running again.”

“我坚信,这是一次暂时的危机,”日内瓦的东方汇理财富管理公司(Indosuez Wealth Management)全球首席经济学家玛丽·欧文斯·汤姆森(Marie Owens Thomsen)说。“你按下了暂停键,然后又按下开始键,机器又重新运转起来。”

But that depends on the rescue packages proving effective — no sure thing. In the typical economic shock, government spends money to try to encourage people to go out and spend. In this crisis, the authorities are demanding that people stay inside to limit the virus.

但这取决于一揽子救助计划是否有效——并不一定。在典型的经济冲击中,政府花费金钱来鼓励人们外出购物。在这场危机中,当局要求人们待在家里以限制病毒传播。

“The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that there will be destruction of productive capacity,” Ms. Owens Thomsen said. “Then, the nature of the crisis morphs from temporary to something a bit more lasting.”

“持续的时间越长,产能被破坏的可能性就越大。”欧文斯·汤姆森说。“然后,危机的性质从暂时转变为更持久。”

Worldwide, foreign direct investment is on track to decline by 40 percent this year, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. This threatens “lasting damage to global production networks and supply chains,” said the body’s director of investment and enterprise, James Zhan.

根据联合国贸易和发展会议(United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)的数据,今年全球范围内的外国直接投资可能继续下降40%。该机构的投资和企业司司长詹晓宁说,这可能构成“对全球生产网络和供应链的持久破坏”。

“It will likely take two to three years for most economies to return to their pre-pandemic levels of output,” IHS Markit said in a recent research note.

IHS Markit在最近的一份研究报告中表示:“大多数经济体可能需要两到三年的时间才能恢复疫情前的产出水平。”

In developing countries, the consequences are already severe. Not only is capital fleeing, but a plunge in commodity prices — especially oil — is assailing many countries, among them Mexico, Chile and Nigeria. China’s slowdown is rippling out to countries that supply Chinese factories with components, from Indonesia to South Korea.

在发展中国家,疫情已经产生了很严重的后果。不仅资本外逃,而且大宗商品价格暴跌——尤其是石油——也使许多国家遭受困扰,其中包括墨西哥、智利和尼日利亚。中国的放缓正在波及到从印尼到韩国等为中国工厂提供零部件的国家。

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

中国武汉的东风本田汽车厂车间(3月23日)。
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Between now and the end of next year, developing countries are on the hook to repay some $2.7 trillion in debt, according to a report released Monday by the U.N. trade body. In normal times, they could afford to roll most of that debt into new loans. But the abrupt exodus of money has prompted investors to charge higher rates of interest for new loans.

根据联合国贸易机构周一发布的一份报告,从现在到明年年底,发展中国家将不得不偿还约2.7万亿美元的债务。通常情况下,他们有能力将大部分债务转为新贷款。但是突然的资金外流促使投资者对新贷款收取更高的利率。

The U.N. body called for a $2.5 trillion rescue for developing countries — $1 trillion in loans from the International Monetary Fund, another $1 trillion in debt forgiveness from a broad range of creditors and $500 billion for health recovery.

该机构呼吁为发展中国家提供2.5万亿美元的救助——其中包括国际货币基金组织(IMF)提供的1万亿美元贷款,另有多家债权方提供的1万亿美元债务减免,再加上用于卫生康复的5000亿美元。

“The great fear we have for developing countries is that the economic shocks have actually hit most of them before the health shocks have really begin to hit,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, director of the division on globalization and development strategies at the U.N. trade body in Geneva.

位于日内瓦的联合国贸易部全球化与发展战略司司长理查德·科祖尔-赖特(Richard Kozul-Wright)说:“我们对发展中国家的最大担心是,在健康冲击真正开始发作之前,多数国家就已经在面临经济冲击了。”

纽约时报双语版-为什么全球经济可能陷入长期衰退

巴西圣保罗,一位理发师等待顾客(3月20日)。
Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

In the most optimistic view, the fix is already underway. China has effectively contained the virus and is beginning to get back to work, though gradually. If Chinese factories spring back to life, that will ripple out across the globe, generating demand for computer chips made in Taiwan, copper mined in Zambia and soybeans grown in Argentina.

最乐观的观点认为,修复已经在进行中。中国已经有效地遏制了病毒,并开始恢复运转,尽管过程缓慢。如果中国工厂恢复生机,会给全球带去影响,产生对台湾制造的计算机芯片、赞比亚开采的铜和阿根廷种植的大豆的需求。

But China’s industry is not immune to global reality. Chinese consumers are an increasingly powerful force, yet cannot spur a full recovery. If Americans are still contending with the pandemic, if South Africa cannot borrow on world markets and if Europe is in recession, that will limit the appetite for Chinese wares.

但是中国的工业对全球现实并不免疫。中国消费者是一支日益强大的力量,但却无法激发全面复苏。如果美国人仍在与疫情抗争,如果南非不能在世界市场上借钱,如果欧洲处于衰退中,那将限制对中国商品的需求。

“If Chinese manufacturing comes back, who exactly are they selling to?” asked Mr. Rogoff, the economist. “How can global growth not take a long-term hit?”

“如果中国制造业恢复了,他们到底要卖给谁?”经济学家罗格夫问道。“全球增长如何不受长期打击?”