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2008年12月20日 (土)

金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 20, 2008)

BOJ policy back in emergency mode

金利0・1% 危機モードに戻った金融政策(1220日付・読売社説)

The global financial crisis and the fast-deteriorating domestic economy have put Japan's monetary policy back in emergency mode.

 世界的な金融危機と国内景気の急速な悪化を受け、金融政策が再び危機対応モードに戻った。

The Bank of Japan decided at its monetary policy meeting Friday to lower its key interest rate by 0.2 percentage point to 0.1 percent.

 日本銀行は19日の金融政策決定会合で、政策金利を0・2%引き下げ、0・1%とした。

This is apparently the de facto resumption of the zero-interest-rate policy that the central bank adopted during the financial doldrums that followed the collapse of the bubble economy.

 バブル崩壊後の金融不況期に採用された「ゼロ金利政策」が事実上、復活したと見てよかろう。

The central bank also announced what is effectively a quantitative-easing policy, including additional purchases of long-term Japanese government bonds and new measures to facilitate lending to companies.

 長期国債の買い取り額の上積みや、企業への新たな資金供給策も打ち出し、実質的な金融の量的緩和政策に踏み込んだ。

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday introduced an effective zero-interest-rate policy and a quantitative-easing policy. The Bank of Japan responded quickly to the Fed's decision, even though it meant cutting the key interest rate for the second time in less than two months.

 ゼロ金利と量的緩和は、米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)が16日に導入した。日銀は前回の利下げから2か月足らずでこれに呼応した形だ。

The Bank of Japan confirmed in its latest quarterly survey of business sentiment released Monday that the nation's economy is rapidly losing steam. At the same time, market pressure appreciating the yen's value against the dollar has been increasing since the Fed's decision pushed U.S. interest rates lower than those in Japan. The Bank of Japan's quick decision to take additional quantitative-easing measures makes sense.

 12月の企業短期経済観測調査(短観)では急速な景気の落ち込みが確認された。米国が日本より低金利になり、円高圧力も強まっていた。迅速に追加緩和を決断したのは妥当だったと言えよう。

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Deflation threat looms again

Meanwhile, the government on Friday downgraded its forecast of Japan's real economic growth rate for fiscal 2008 to minus 0.8 percent. The government aims to achieve zero growth in real gross domestic product in fiscal 2009, but in reality, the Japanese economy is likely to register negative growth in two straight years for the first time in 10 years.

 政府は2008年度の実質成長率の見込みをマイナス0・8%に下方修正した。09年度は0%成長の「目標」を掲げたが、実際には約10年ぶりに2年度連続のマイナス成長となりそうだ。

Consumer prices, meanwhile, are expected to fall in fiscal 2009, rising fears of the return of deflation.

 物価上昇率も、09年度はマイナスとなる見通しで、デフレ再来の恐れは一段と強まってきた。


In addition to fiscal and tax measures to stimulate the economy, stabilizing the nation's financial markets by supplying ample liquidity is essential to stop deflation from taking hold.

 財政・税制による景気対策に加えて、潤沢な資金供給による金融市場の安定が、デフレの深刻化を防ぐために欠かせない。

The Bank of Japan decided this time to increase its purchases of long-term JGBs from financial institutions to 1.4 trillion yen a month from the current 1.2 trillion yen to secure sufficient liquidity.

 日銀が今回、金融機関から買い入れる長期国債の規模を、月額1・2兆円から1・4兆円に増額したのも、市場への十分な資金供給を確保するためだ。

In the quantitative-easing policy implemented for five years from 2001, the central bank accumulated funds up to a little over 30 trillion yen in its current account to calm anxieties in financial markets. However, the policy is said to have had only limited effects because most of the funds remained in financial institutions and did not facilitate corporate financing.

 01年から5年間続いた量的緩和政策では、日銀当座預金に最大30兆円超の資金を積み上げ、金融市場の不安を和らげた。しかし資金の多くは金融機関に滞留して企業などに届かず、景気改善の効果は限られたとされる。

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Companies short of cash

Since it has become difficult to raise operating capital with commercial paper and corporate bonds under the current financial crisis, even major corporations are experiencing cash-flow problems.

 今回の金融危機では、コマーシャルペーパー(CP)や社債での資金調達が困難になり、大企業も資金繰りに苦しんでいる。

To ameliorate this situation, the Bank of Japan announced a new method of purchasing CP under which it will buy the short-term corporate debt outright to facilitate corporate financing. It also will study the possibility of widening the range of securities it purchases.

 このため日銀は、CPを買い取る新制度を打ち出した。自ら「最後の買い手」となり、企業に資金を流すのが狙いだ。買い取る債券などの対象拡大も検討する。

It is extremely unusual for the central bank to assume the risk of its debt assets becoming unrecoverable due to corporate bankruptcies and other contingencies. This shows the central bank's strong determination to normalize the financial system.

 倒産などで資金が回収できなくなるリスクを日銀自身が負うのは異例だ。金融正常化に向けた強い決意がうかがえる。

We hope the Bank of Japan will improve the effectiveness of its easy-money policy by every possible means, while taking care not to compromise its financial strength.

 日銀は、財務の健全性を大きく損なわない範囲でさまざまな工夫を凝らし、金融緩和の実効性を高めてほしい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2008)

200812200146  読売新聞)

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