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2009年1月 3日 (土)

急変する世界 カギ握る米国経済の再生

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 3, 2009)

Global economic revival hinges on U.S. recovery

急変する世界 カギ握る米国経済の再生(13日付・読売社説)

 ◆深刻な世界同時不況の中で◆

As if rolling down a steep hill, the global economy has deteriorated rapidly since being hit by the financial crisis that started in the United States.

 米国発の金融危機の直撃を受けた世界経済は、急坂を転げ落ちるように悪化している。

Trying times will no doubt continue in 2009.

 2009年も、厳しい試練の時が続くのは避けられまい。

Developed countries, including the United States, European nations and Japan, entered into economic recessions last year, while the four big newly emerging countries, including China and India, saw their booming economies slow down significantly.

 昨年は米国、欧州、日本の先進国が景気後退局面に入り、中国、インドなど新興4か国の景気も急減速した。

The International Monetary Fund predicts that the global economy will further slow this year, with global economic growth rate in real terms to be only about 2 percent. It is the first time since the end of World War II that Japan, the United States and European countries will all register negative economic growth at the same time. China meanwhile is expected to see single-digit economic growth for the second consecutive year.

 国際通貨基金(IMF)の予想では、今年は景気が一段と落ち込み、世界全体で実質2%程度の成長にとどまる。日米欧がそろってマイナス成長に落ち込むのは戦後初めてだ。中国も2年連続で1ケタ成長となる見通しである。

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Rise together, fall together

The so-called decoupling theory, which posits that the economic doldrums of developed countries can be covered by the high growth of the newly emerging economies, has crumbled like cookies. The world cannot find a way out of simultaneous recessions in the absence of an economic engine. When will recovery of the global economy come? Even optimistic economists say the latter half of 2010 or later.

 先進国経済が低迷しても、新興国の高成長が補うという「デカップリング(非連動)論」は、もろくも崩れた。牽引(けんいん)役が不在で、世界経済は同時不況から抜け出す道筋が見えない。

 世界経済は、いつになったら回復するのか。楽観的な見方でも2010年半ば以降とされる。

The key factor is the recovery of the U.S. economy. In the United States, housing market conditions continue to deteriorate and the number of unemployed is sharply increasing. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, also remains sluggish.

 カギを握るのは、米国経済だ。米国では、住宅市況の悪化が続き、失業が急増している。国内総生産(GDP)の7割を占める個人消費も冷え込んだままだ。

Taking such situations into consideration, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board introduced an essentially zero-interest-rate policy at the end of December. It also has taken quantitative easing measures such as the outright purchase of long-term government bonds.

 こうした状況を受け、米連邦準備制度理事会(FRB)は昨年12月末、ゼロ金利政策を導入した。長期国債などを買い入れる量的緩和策にも踏み込んだ。

 ◆米の大規模な財政出動◆

The Fed has shown its determination to prevent the economy from weakening further and to stop deflation by taking unconventional crisis response measures. However, the Fed's monetary measures alone are not enough. The Fed must coordinate its actions with fiscal measures from the federal government.

 異例の危機対応を取ることで、景気悪化を食い止め、デフレを阻止する決意を示した。しかし、FRBの金融政策だけでは不十分だ。連邦政府の財政政策と連携した両面作戦が重要になる。

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Will Obama's stimulus deliver?

Barack Obama, who becomes U.S. president on Jan. 20, is planning to take large economic stimulus measures worth more than 800 billion dollars (72 trillion yen), including tax reductions and public investments such as the maintenance and repair of roads and bridges. He also plans employment measures aimed at creating jobs for 3 million people over two years.

 今月20日に就任するオバマ次期大統領は、道路や橋の補修などの公共投資と、減税を柱にした8000億ドル(約72兆円)超の大型の景気対策を実施する考えだ。雇用対策では、「2年間で300万人の雇用創出」を目標に掲げる。

The future 44th president is said to have taken a cue from the New Deal program implemented by the 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to tackle the Great Depression that started in 1929. Immediately after he takes office, Obama will be tested on whether he can revive the U.S. economy.

 次期大統領は、ルーズベルト大統領が大恐慌時に実施したニューディール政策を意識しているとされる。米国経済を再生させることができるか、就任早々、その手腕が問われることになろう。

The first challenge for the new president is the rehabilitation of the Big Three automakers--General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co.

 次期大統領が最初に直面するのは、米自動車大手3社(ビッグスリー)の再建問題だ。

U.S. President George W. Bush decided last month to offer huge emergency loans for GM and Chrysler to save them, at least temporarily, from bankruptcy.

 ブッシュ大統領は、ゼネラル・モーターズ(GM)とクライスラーへの巨額のつなぎ融資を決め、当面の経営破綻(はたん)を回避した。

The two automakers are required to come up with restructuring plans by the end of March. But, if the plans are found insufficient to make them viable, there will be a possibility that the automakers will have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

 両社は3月末までにリストラ策を提出するが、それが不十分であれば、連邦破産法による破綻処理の可能性がでてくる。

If the automakers go bankrupt, its impact on the global financial market and the world economy will be enormous. The next president will have to make very difficult decisions regarding this.

 実際に破綻すれば、世界の金融市場や景気に及ぼす影響は甚大だ。次期大統領は極めて難しい判断を迫られよう。

Measures to deal with the global financial crisis, including a bailout plan for the auto industry and a major economic stimulus package, are expected to inflate the U.S. budget deficit to more than 1 trillion dollars in fiscal 2009. This fiscal deficit will be a heavy burden on the U.S. economy.

 自動車業界への支援を含む金融危機対策と、大型の景気対策により、2009年度の米財政赤字は1兆ドル超に膨らむ見通しだ。これも米国経済に重しとなって、のしかかることになる。

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Dollar needs to be supported

Major countries must enhance cooperation and act quickly with the United States to rehabilitate the global economy.

 世界経済を立て直すには、主要国が米国と連携を強め、迅速に行動することが肝要だ。

European countries, Japan and newly emerging countries such as China are already coordinating fiscal and monetary policy measures in accordance with an agreement reached at the financial summit meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 major industrialized and developing economies in November.

 すでに欧州、日本や、中国などの新興国が、財政・金融政策の発動で足並みをそろえつつある。昨秋に開かれた世界20か国・地域(G20)の金融サミットの合意に沿ったものだ。

The G-20 leaders are required at the second financial summit to be held in Britain in April to reach agreements on more concrete measures such as restrictions on globally operating financial institutions. They also will focus on the present key currency system based on the U.S. dollar as an increasing number of economists believe the rapid inflation of the U.S. fiscal deficit could undermine confidence in the greenback.

 4月に英国で開催される第2回金融サミットでは、国際的に活動する金融機関の規制強化など、より具体的な成果が求められる。

 ドル基軸体制の在り方も焦点の一つになろう。米国の財政赤字の急拡大で、ドルの信認が揺らぐとの見方が強まっているからだ。

However, it is a fact that there is no other currency that can fill the U.S. dollar's shoes. The presence of the euro, the single European currency, has been increasing since it was first introduced in 1999, but it is still not as strong as the dollar. Discussions at the summit will probably focus on how G-20 countries can help support the U.S. dollar.

 しかし、ドルに代わる通貨が見当たらないのが現実だ。誕生から10年を迎えた欧州単一通貨ユーロも存在感を増したが、ドルほどの力はない。サミットでは、ドルをいかに支えるかが焦点になるのではないか。

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Keep protectionism at bay

 ◆保護主義の台頭を防げ◆

While the world economy is becoming increasingly jittery, there is an alarming amount of pressure for more trade protectionism.

 世界経済が動揺するなか、保護貿易主義の高まりが、要警戒段階に入ってきた。

As if responding to the U.S. government's rescue plan for the Big Three automakers, Russia has raised its import tariffs on automobiles and European countries and China have begun to assist their respective auto industries. Some economists are concerned that if nothing is done the countries could slip into protectionist wars to defend their industries.

 米国政府によるビッグスリー救済に対抗するかのように、ロシアが自動車輸入関税を引き上げ、欧州や中国なども自動車業界の支援に乗り出した。このままでは、自国産業の保護合戦に発展しかねないとの懸念もある。

The promotion of free trade is needed more than ever in times like today. But, members of the World Trade Organization failed to reach a broad agreement in the Doha Round of trade liberalization talks, which was initially targeted for completion by the end of the year. Japan, the United States, European countries and developing nations failed to resolve their differences.

 こうした時こそ必要なのが自由貿易の促進だ。世界貿易機関(WTO)の新多角的貿易交渉(ドーハ・ラウンド)は、日米欧と途上国の対立が解けず、目標だった「昨年末の大枠合意」を達成することができなかった。

A bitter lesson can be drawn from the Great Depression, in which bad situations were made worse by many countries turning to protectionism.

 大恐慌は、世界各国が保護主義に走ったために、事態が深刻化した苦い教訓がある。

WTO members must try hard to reach an agreement in this round of multilateral trade talks as early as possible. In the process, Japan also must voluntarily fulfill its responsibilities.

 各国は、新ラウンドの早期合意を目指すべきだ。日本も、率先して責任を果たさねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 3, 2008)

2009130223  読売新聞)

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