Opinion

資產泡沫無益於疫情後的經濟恢復

新冠疫情帶來的全球經濟危機可以說是公認近些年來最嚴重的,但相比於程度與之最相似的1929年經濟大蕭條,二者對資產價格帶來的影響卻截然不同。

By: Date: March 3, 2021 Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation

The English version of this opinion piece was originally published on Asia Times Financial.

新冠疫情帶來的全球經濟危機可以說是公認近些年來最嚴重的,但相比於程度與之最相似的1929年經濟大蕭條,二者對資產價格帶來的影響卻截然不同。

1929年大蕭條始於美國股市崩潰,而當前的疫情危機開始時股市也的確急劇下跌,尤其在去年三月疫情蔓延至歐洲和美國時,但隨後卻很快發展成為近年來最聲勢浩大的牛市之一。

產生這種差異的原因主要在於美聯儲應對兩次危機的反應不同。事實上,1929年利率始終保持在高於6%的水準,到1931年才降至2%。而2020年疫情爆發之前,美國利率水準已經非常低,這也解釋了美聯儲隨後資產負債表的空前增長。美元作為全球儲備貨幣,流動性大幅增加無疑會引發全球股價上漲。除股票外,其他形式的投機性投資(例如加密貨幣)也都出現了爆炸式增長。

那麼在當前的經濟前景和企業收入前景下,牛市接下來會如何演變? 短期來看,2021年經濟在大規模的刺激和有利的基數效應加持下很可能會快速復蘇,尤其是2021上半年。不過一些風險仍然無法避免,例如疫苗推廣的速度或是病毒變異可能會減緩甚至破壞經濟復甦進程。如果這種情況發生,毫無疑問股市也會受到衝擊。

刺激減弱
事實上,資產價格最大的不確定性來自於2021年之後,屆時經濟刺激措施開始減弱,企業面臨債務負擔加重的事實。再加上美聯儲可能縮減購債規模導致融資成本上升,2022年的股市會比2021年艱難得多。

而目前的資產價格大幅上漲是否真的能夠幫助我們走出疫情對經濟和企業的影響?誠實地說,答案可能是否定的。首先,在家庭收入需要受到保護的時候,資產泡沫只會保護擁有足夠財富來投資的人,其他人則繼續遭受損失,相對而言的差距更大。這不可避免會導致更多的再分配政策 —— 甚至是民粹主義政策,尤其是中產階級將會要求更多收入保護的民主政權。

企業稅
這種再分配政策很有可能通過增加公司稅和一些其他途徑,從家庭轉向企業。如果我們考慮到2022年及以後增長放緩的前景、屆時更高的債務負擔、以及如果開始縮減購債計畫,融資成本可能會上升等因素,就會發現當前的資產泡沫很難持續下去。況且,泡沫帶來的社會經濟後果可能是收入分配的進一步惡化,因此泡沫看起來更是一個問題,而非解決疫情帶來的經濟衝擊的方法。這個問題目前可能還沒有那麼嚴重,但隨著時間推移,對收入分配的影響會逐漸顯現出來,政治和經濟上的影響也會越來越明顯。


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