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2008年12月18日 (木)

米ゼロ金利 ついに踏み切った異例の策

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 18, 2008)

Fed entering uncharted territory in crisis fight

米ゼロ金利 ついに踏み切った異例の策(1218日付・読売社説)

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board finally decided Tuesday to adopt a zero-interest-rate policy. It also announced the introduction of a policy of quantitative easing--unprecedented measures for dealing with the current economic turmoil.

 米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)が、ついにゼロ金利政策に踏み切った。量的緩和策の導入も表明し、前例のない危機対応に乗り出した。

The Fed lowered the target range for the federal funds rate--its benchmark interest rate for short-term interest rates--by 0.75 to one percentage point, to zero to 0.25 percent. This is the first zero percent interest rate in real terms in the history of U.S. financial policy.

 短期金利の指標となるフェデラル・ファンド(FF)金利の誘導目標を0・75%~1%引き下げ、年0・25%~0%とした。米国の金融政策史上、事実上のゼロ金利は初めてだ。

The U.S. economy has been in recession since December last year. The financial crisis has splashed cold water over the real economy and sharply increased unemployment. Many fear the worst recession since the Great Depression, while an increasing number of economists also are concerned about deflation.

 米国は、昨年12月から景気後退局面に入った。金融危機が実体経済を冷え込ませ、失業が急増している。戦前の「大恐慌」以来、最長の景気後退が予想され、デフレ懸念も台頭し始めた。

The Fed's unprecedented action apparently is aimed at preventing the economy from deteriorating further and to stop deflation from taking hold.

 FRBは、異例の政策発動で景気悪化とデフレの阻止も狙ったといえよう。

Expressing strong concern, the Fed said in its statement that it "will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth."

「可能な限りのあらゆる手段を用いる」という声明は、強い危機感を示す。

===

Breaking new ground

Some economists argue the effects of interest rate cuts will be limited because interest rates were already extraordinarily low.

 しかし、すでに超低金利状態だったことを考えると、利下げ効果は限定的と見る向きもある。

However, the introduction of a policy of quantitative easing, such as purchasing long-term U.S. Treasury and government-agency securities in substantial quantities to increase financial liquidity, is expected to be effective.

 そこで注目されるのが、FRBの「次の一手」だ。長期国債や政府機関債の大量買い入れによる資金供給など、量的緩和策の導入を明らかにした点である。

This is a dramatic shift in financial policy from its interest rate intervention-based approach so far, and the Fed is entering unknown territory.

 金融政策の手段を金利誘導から転換するもので、未知の領域に踏み込むことを意味する。

The Fed has been actively buying commercial paper issued by private corporations, but is planning to further increase financial liquidity. This is an attempt to support the economy by helping lower interest rates for housing and other long-term interest rates.

 FRBはこれまで、企業が発行するコマーシャルペーパー(CP)などを積極的に買い入れてきたが、今後、市場への資金供給をさらに拡充する考えだ。住宅ローンなどの長期金利の低下を促し、景気を下支えする狙いだ。

The Fed could learn from the quantitative easing policy the Bank of Japan implemented for five years from March 2001. The Bank of Japan tried to snap the Japanese economy out of deflation by purchasing a large quantity of securities from financial institutions.

 FRBにはモデルがある。日銀が2001年3月から5年間実施した量的緩和策だ。金融機関から手形や債券を大量購入し、デフレ脱却を目指した。

This policy is said to have been effective to a certain degree in supporting the economy by supplying sufficient funds to banks and other financial institutions. However, the application of the policy presented challenges, such as knowing when to stop quantitative easing of the money supply.

 この政策は、金融機関などへの潤沢な資金提供を通じて、景気下支えに一定の効果があったとされる。ただ、量的緩和をストップする「出口」の判断など、運用が難しい面もあった。

Of course there are differences between what Japan experienced then and the current situation facing the United States. But the Fed still should heed the lessons Japan has learned as it tries to steer the U.S. economy under extremely difficult conditions.

 当時の日本と、現在の米国の状況は異なるが、FRBは日本の教訓を踏まえつつ、難しいかじ取りを迫られることになる。

===

Coordination essential

It also will become increasingly important for the Fed to coordinate its actions with the White House's fiscal policy if the current economic turmoil is to be overcome. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is planning to take large-scale action to stimulate the economy. Both Obama and the Fed should work together to turn the U.S. economy around as quickly as possible with every fiscal and monetary policy measure available.

 危機を乗り切るには、財政政策との連携もますます重要になる。オバマ次期米大統領は大型の景気対策を実施する方針だ。財政・金融政策を総動員し、経済の立て直しを急いでもらいたい。

Meanwhile, the appreciation of the yen against the dollar continued Wednesday following the Fed's interest rate cut, which has put rates lower than those of Japan, among other factors.

 一方、日米金利差の逆転などを背景に、円高・ドル安が進んだ。

Japan faces a serious recession, too. The Bank of Japan is scheduled to hold its monetary policy meeting Thursday and Friday. It is expected to consider additional monetary measures there, including interest rate cuts coordinated with the Fed.

日本の景気後退も深刻だ。週末に金融政策を協議する日銀は、米国との協調利下げを含め、追加策の検討を求められよう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 18, 2008)

200812180130  読売新聞)

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