« 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:まず目の前を大切に /東京 | トップページ | 野田外交の責務 日本の存在高める戦略を持て »

2012年1月10日 (火)

不安な世界経済 欧州危機の早期収束がカギだ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 10, 2012)
Resolving European crisis key to buoying global economy
不安な世界経済 欧州危機の早期収束がカギだ(1月9日付・読売社説)

A somber new year has begun for the global economy, with no victory in sight in the battle to solve the financial crisis that started in Europe.

Can we prevent the crisis from spreading further and stave off a rapid slowdown in the global economy?

Many hurdles lie ahead, and rough going is expected for the global economy.

Last autumn, the International Monetary Fund forecast the global economy as a whole would grow 4 percent in real terms in 2012.
But it is highly likely the IMF will revise this projection downward to the mid-3 percent range as early as this month.

The eurozone economy could log negative growth due to its financial crisis and fiscal austerity policy.

The flagging economies in eurozone countries are expected to weigh down not only the United States and Japan but also emerging economies, including China, that have been enjoying robust growth.
An economic slowdown in those countries is considered unavoidable.


Prevent economy from stalling

However, we must avoid a stall that could cause the global economy to nosedive.

To do so, it is critical to resolve the European crisis soon.

Last year, credit uncertainty triggered by Greece's lax fiscal management spread to countries such as Italy and Spain, which are saddled with massive fiscal deficits.
The market was unsettled and stock prices remained low.

The euro became mired in its most serious crisis since its introduction in 1999.

The depreciation of the euro accelerated and it fell below 100 yen around the change of the year.

In December, a summit meeting of the European Union, including countries that use the euro such as Germany and France, finally agreed on countermeasures whose main pillars include strengthening fiscal discipline in the respective countries.

It is praiseworthy that Europe, which has always been reactive in dealing with the crisis, began taking action.

However, bondholders continue to unload Italian and other European bonds, and their yields continue to rise.  しかし、その後も、イタリアなどの国債が売られ、国債流通利回りは上昇傾向にある。

The Italian and Spanish governments will redeem a large amount of bonds.

The market appears to be increasingly wary over whether the two countries can get through the redemption.

Major credit-rating agencies may downgrade the bonds of France and further cut their assessments of bonds of other European countries.

There seems to be no end to the turmoil.

The EU's crisis countermeasures are still not powerful enough to dispel the financial concerns.

It is essential that European countries strengthen their solidarity and seriously work on crisis countermeasures.

First and foremost, eurozone countries should steadily implement measures to support Greece, for which it would be unrealistic to drop the euro.
Countries such as Germany and France must fully support the country.

As a safety net, it is also urgent to expand the financial foundations of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which was agreed on at the summit meeting.

There is no time to waste in increasing the capital of banks that hold bonds of Italy and other European countries.

The role of the European Central Bank, known as the "guardian of the euro," is certain to grow.

We hope to see the ECB study the advisability of taking drastic steps such as expanded purchases of Italian government bonds.

The most fundamental problem with Europe is that individual European countries have been handling their fiscal policies separately, while employing a common currency.

European leaders have properly agreed on the need to beef up their countries' fiscal discipline, and on their mutual monitoring of fiscal conditions.

Now the question is whether Germany and France will be able to take concerted action to deepen European integration.


U.S. also on tightrope

Although the U.S. economy has begun to pick up slowly, it is still not on track toward a full recovery.

The high jobless rate in the United States is still hovering at about 9 percent, and it is unclear whether personal spending will continue growing in the new year.

If the United States is affected by a deterioration of the European economies, it could raise fears that U.S. business conditions will worsen.

Furthermore, there are signs of a looming stalemate in the handling of U.S. fiscal and financial policy.

As the confrontation continues unabated between the ruling and opposition parties over ways to reduce fiscal deficits, a focus of attention in the U.S. political arena, additional business stimulus by President Barack Obama's administration seems hardly possible.

While it is urgently necessary for the United States to reduce its colossal fiscal deficits, excessive belt-tightening measures could dampen business activity.

As political maneuvering intensifies with the presidential election drawing near, Obama should give full play to his leadership in pursuit of a compromise plan with Congress over the fiscal woes.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board has decided on the extraordinary policy of keeping its interest rate near zero until the end of the first half of 2013, but its effect on shoring up business activity is considered limited.

The Fed should watch carefully how things evolve in the European debt crisis and the world's financial markets, as well as changes in the currently unstable U.S. economy, and should not hesitate to flexibly invoke new financial policies, such as further quantitative monetary easing.


Great hopes pinned on China

There are growing calls for solidarity among the Group of 20 economies, comprised of industrially advanced countries including Japan, the United States and European nations, and such emerging economies as China, India and Brazil.

In the wake of the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the G-20 successfully mobilized its members to coordinate fiscal and financial policy and ride out the global financial crisis that followed the U.S. investment bank's failure.

In particular, China should be given credit for playing a great role in overcoming the crisis by implementing a huge business stimulus program.

The international community is now focused on how China, which has become the world's No. 2 economy, will contribute to coping with the current European debt crisis.

One idea would be for it to buy a significant amount of bonds issued by the EFSF.

The world is also placing hopes on China's steps to buoy its domestic economy, which has begun to show signs of a slowdown due to such factors as drops in exports to Europe.

Compared with Japan, the United States and European countries, China has considerably more room to hammer out fiscal stimulus measures and additional monetary easing.

By maintaining stable economic growth with a flexible range of policies, China could help prop up the global economy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 9, 2012)
(2012年1月9日01時24分  読売新聞)


« 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:まず目の前を大切に /東京 | トップページ | 野田外交の責務 日本の存在高める戦略を持て »





« 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:まず目の前を大切に /東京 | トップページ | 野田外交の責務 日本の存在高める戦略を持て »