The euro crisis
Damned with faint plans
Euro-zone government bonds have not been made safe—and the euro project remains in peril.
THERE were hopes, however faint, that Europe’s leaders might, in the space of a few days, manage to persuade investors that euro-area government bonds were safe assets, not toxic waste, thus putting paid to fears [注1] that the currency zone would disintegrate. The verdict, a week after meetings of the European Central Bank (ECB) and European Union leaders on December 7th-9th, is that they failed.
曾经是有希望，然而是很渺茫的希望，欧洲的领导人可能在有限的几天内成功地说服投资者：欧元区的政府债券是安全的资产，而不是有毒的垃圾, 以终结有关欧元区会分裂的恐慌. 在12月7日-9日举行的欧央行(ECB)和欧盟领导人会晤的一星期之后, 结论却是是他们失败了.
The new measures that emerged from these meetings fell short of what is required to save the euro, though they may be enough to support the zone’s stricken banks and sovereigns for a while. The bond markets’ initial response is not encouraging. Yields on the ten-year bonds of Italy and Spain, the big euro-zone countries that investors are most wary of, have risen again after falling in the run-up to the summit (see chart).
在这些会晤中讨论出的新的措施并没有达到拯救欧元的目标, 尽管他们对于在短时间内支持一下饱受打击的银行和主权债务应该是足够的. 债券市场上的初期反应并不乐观. 投资者们目前最关心的两个欧元区大国 - 西班牙和意大利 - 的十年期债券收益率在峰会进行期间短暂回落之后, 又重新开始抬头.
The euro has also dropped to its lowest level (below $1.30) against the dollar since January. The likeliest trigger for the next stage in a deepening crisis is a blanket downgrade of euro-zone government bonds, which would strip France and even Germany of their prized AAA credit rating.
欧元对美元汇率目前已经跌至自今年一月以来的最低水平(1欧元兑换1.30美元). 可能出现的大范围调低欧元区政府债券评级的举动最有可能成为在下一阶段使危机深化的导火索, 那是法国甚至德国都有可能丢失其引以为豪的AAA评级.
The gatherings in Frankfurt and Brussels did not deliver the “comprehensive” solution to the euro’s ills that was billed, but optimists point to some modest progress. The ECB lowered its benchmark interest rate from 1.25% to 1%, the second quarter-point cut in as many months, to try to mitigate the coming recession. It agreed to provide unlimited cash to commercial banks for up to three years, at its main interest rate, to replace the medium-term funding that private investors are unwilling to extend. The central bank will now accept higher-risk asset-backed bonds as well as loans as security for cash, and it has lowered its reserve requirements for banks to ease their funding pressures.
领导人们在法兰克福和布鲁塞尔的聚会并没有达成一项“综合性的”方案来解决议案中陈述的欧元面临的弊病, 但是, 仍有乐观者认为会议还是举得了一定的进展. 欧央行(ECB)已经将其基准利率从1.25%降低到1%以缓和即将到来的经济衰退, 这是欧央行在进几个月内第二次下调基准利率1/4百分点. 欧央行已经同意在其主利率水平上为商业银行提供期限可达3年的无限量的现金供应, 以帮助银行替换掉那些私人投资者不愿意再延期的中期借款. 同时, 欧央行现在已经开始接受高风险的资产抵押债券和为现金作抵押的贷款, 并且调低了存款准备金率以帮助银行缓解融资压力。