« 09年春闘―雇用最優先に仕切り直せ | トップページ | 金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策 »

2008年12月19日 (金)

米ゼロ金利―世界デフレを食い止めよ

2008/12/19

--The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 18(IHT/Asahi: December 19,2008)

EDITORIAL: Fed's zero rate policy

米ゼロ金利―世界デフレを食い止めよ

To prevent his worst nightmare from becoming reality, U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has made a gutsy decision. His biggest fear is that a deflationary downturn in the U.S. economy will throw the world economy into an abyss.

 米国のデフレが世界経済を奈落に引きずり込む。そんな悪夢を振り払おうと、米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)のバーナンキ議長が腹をくくった。 

If the U.S. economy falls into a full-blown deflationary spiral, finance and credit will contract rapidly, forcing businesses to sharply reduce their production and work forces. The downward pressure could become so strong that both monetary and fiscal policies would be powerless to turn the tide.

 米国がもしデフレの悪循環に陥れば、金融が縮小し、生産や雇用は大幅な減退を迫られる。経済の落ち込む力が強すぎて、金融政策でも財政政策でも手に負えなくなるかも知れない。

If that happens, the entire world would be sucked into a deflationary maelstrom.

そうなれば、世界が巻き込まれる悪夢の連鎖が始まる。 

What the Fed announced Tuesday was the so-called zero interest rate policy. For the first time in the history of U.S. monetary policy, the central bank lowered its target range for the federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 percent. Since interest rates cannot fall below zero, there is no room for further monetary easing through the traditional approach of interest rate cuts.

 FRBが発表したのは、いわゆる「ゼロ金利政策」だ。米国の金融政策史上初めて政策金利を0~0.25%に引き下げた。金利はマイナスにできないので、伝統的な金融政策はこれで打ち止めだ。 

So Bernanke also decided to take bold steps to inject money directly into the economy through the unconventional approach known as quantitative monetary easing policy. That means the Fed will buy huge amounts of bonds of various kinds and mortgage-backed securities to help businesses raise the money necessary for maintaining operations and restore stability in the financial system.

 そこでバーナンキ議長は、市場に大量の資金を供給する「量的緩和政策」にも思い切って踏み込む。各種の債券や住宅ローンを担保とする証券などを大胆に買い入れ、企業の資金繰り支援や金融システムの安定を図る。

By buying long-term Treasury securities, the Fed is also trying to push down long-term interest rates and lift the economy.

長期国債を買い入れることで、長期金利の引き下げと景気刺激も狙う。 

The Bank of Japan adopted the quantitative easing approach to fight deflation between 2001 and 2006. At that time, the BOJ flooded the banking system with liquidity and urged commercial banks to expand lending to companies. That made sense because in Japan domestic companies depended on bank loans for much of their financing.

 量的緩和政策は、日本銀行が01~06年にとったことがある。この時は取引先の銀行に現金をじゃぶじゃぶ供給し、銀行が企業への融資を拡大するよう促した。日本では、企業の資金調達の主要ルートが銀行だからだ。 

In the United States, in contrast, companies raise most of the funds they need in securities markets. The Fed's quantitative easing operations are designed to support corporate financing directly by buying bonds and commercial paper, a kind of unsecured promissory note for short-term financing, issued by companies.

 米国では証券市場での資金調達が中心だ。FRBがしようとしている量的緩和は、企業が発行する債券や手形の一種であるコマーシャルペーパー(CP)などを直接買い取り、資金調達市場を丸ごと支えることだ。 

It effectively means the Fed lends money directly to companies. By using this unusual policy tool, the central bank is running the risk of allowing its balance sheet to be damaged by possible defaults on the bonds and commercial paper it is buying. In such cases, the U.S. government will cover the losses with public funds.

 中央銀行が企業にじかに資金供給するようなもので、焦げ付きや不渡りになれば、中央銀行の財務基盤に傷が付く。その場合は米政府が損失を補う。 

If losses from the operations balloon to an amount that puts a serious strain on public finances, however, confidence in both the U.S. government and central bank could diminish, triggering a crash of the dollar. Even so, the Fed has no choice but to use all available tools to defuse the impending deflationary crisis, which is threatening to send the economy into a downward spin.

 損失があまりにも膨らみ、財政負担が増えすぎると、米政府と中央銀行双方の信認が低下し、ドルが暴落する心配さえある。だからといって、目前のデフレの危機を抑え込まなければ、すべてが失われる。

Apparently, U.S. monetary policy has reached a make-or-break juncture.

そんな、のるかそるかの勝負どころに米金融政策は来た。 

All major central banks are now facing similar policy challenges. The European Central Bank has reduced its target interest rate to 2.5 percent through a series of cuts, while the Bank of England has lowered the key rate down to 2.0 percent, the lowest level since the British central bank was founded in the late 17th century. Yet both central banks are almost certain to be forced to cut interest rates further.

 程度の差はあれ、世界の中央銀行が直面する課題は同じだ。欧州中央銀行(ECB)は2.5%、英イングランド銀行は17世紀末の創設以来最低の2%まで金利を下げているが、今後も追加利下げは不可避だろう。 

The Bank of Japan cut its benchmark interest rate by 0.2 percentage point to 0.3 percent in October and has since taken additional steps to pour money into markets. But the BOJ has so far refused to go beyond accepting commercial paper and corporate bonds as collateral for loans to banks.

 日銀は10月に0.2%利下げして0.3%とした後、市場への資金供給策を拡充してきた。だが、これまではCPなどを担保にして銀行に現金を貸す範囲にとどまっている。

Since domestic companies are finding it harder to raise the funds they need to stay in business, the BOJ should be open to the policy option of buying corporate bonds and commercial paper directly from companies. The BOJ needs to cooperate with the government in guarding itself against possible defaults as the Fed is doing.

 企業は資金繰りに窮しており、日銀もFRBのように債券やCPの買い取りをタブー視すべきではない。焦げ付きや不渡りへの備えは、米国のように政府と協力するしかない。

With the central bank's policy board meeting under way, BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa must make his own gutsy decision.

きょうから金融政策決定会合が始まる。今度は、白川方明総裁が腹をくくる番だ。

|

« 09年春闘―雇用最優先に仕切り直せ | トップページ | 金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策 »

04-英字新聞(朝日2)」カテゴリの記事

コメント

コメントを書く



(ウェブ上には掲載しません)




« 09年春闘―雇用最優先に仕切り直せ | トップページ | 金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策 »