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特朗普施政建议或将损害美国贸易

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U.S. President Donald Trump meets with executives and union representatives from the Harley Davidson company at the White House on February 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. At the end of the photo opportunity, Trump said "nothing is off the table" in relation to current disagreements between the U.S. and Iran.

Perhaps Donald Trump didn't unleash the animal spirits of the economy after all.

Shortly after the election, many commentators suggested that Trump's win, and his promise to cut regulation and taxes, seemed to give the economy a psychological boost. Indeed last month, members of the Federal Reserve noted that measures of consumer confidence and business activity appeared to have improved.

But those animal spirits, as economists call such signs of optimism, are strikingly absent in a pretty good predictor of future economic activity: lending.

According to new data from research website Bankregdata, bank lending slowed in the final three months of last year. In the fourth quarter, loan balances at U.S. banks rose just 0.8% from the quarter before. That was the slowest growth in nearly two years. Overall, banks made an additional $70 billion in loans during the quarter. But that was less than the jump of $110 billion in loans the previous quarter, and $90 billion in the three months before that.

What's more, borrowing by businesses, which were supposed to have been howling the loudest, economically, from Trump's win—that is, companies were expected to pounce on new loans for big investments—seems to have slowed the most. So-called commercial and industrial lending dropped by $2 billion in the fourth quarter. That was the first quarterly drop in business lending, which has been one of the biggest areas of loan growth since the recession, in more than three years.

Oddly, the disappointing lending numbers could be a win for Trump. The President has claimed that regulations such as Dodd-Frank have been holding back lending, including to his friends. There is little evidence of that. But if a slowdown in lending persists, Trump may have more reason to call for a rollback in regulations, something he has long said he would like to happen.

While the market shot up after Trump's election, there are growing signs that the economy, at least so far, has gotten nearly as much of a bump from Trump. Some are starting to suggest that his policy proposals, particularly on trade, could even be hurting the economy, driving us into a Trump slump. On Wednesday, Larry Fink, CEO of money manager BlackRock and a member of the president's CEO advisory board, told a conference that he thought uncertainties around Trump's economic policies were already having a negative impact on global growth. "I actually believe we’re in the midst of a slowdown as we speak because of all the uncertainty," Fink said.

美国总统唐纳德·特朗普在白宫会见哈雷戴维森公司高层和工会代表,华盛顿,2017年2月2日。拍照时间结束时特朗普说,就美国和伊朗目前的争议而言,“没有什么是不能谈的”。

唐纳德·特朗普也许根本没有激发出经济的动物精神。

大选刚刚结束时,许多评论人士都说特朗普当选以及他放松管制、减少税收的承诺似乎从心理上鼓舞了经济。美联储成员上个月确实也表示,衡量消费者信心和公司活跃程度的指标看来出现了好转。

但这些动物精神,也就是经济学家所说的此类乐观迹象唯独没有出现在贷款中,而贷款是反映今后经济活动的相当好的指标。

研究网站Bankregdata公布的新数据显示,去年最后三个月美国银行贷款增速下降。在这个季度,美国银行贷款余额仅比上季度提高了0.8%,这是近两年来的最小升幅。银行贷款在此期间增长了700亿美元,低于去年二、三季度的900亿和1100亿美元。

此外,从经济上讲特朗普当选后最应该“喜大普奔”的就是公司借款,或者说企业应该为了大规模投资而争相贷款,但看来它反而成了减速最厉害的那一个。去年第四季度,所谓的工商贷款下降了20亿美元。这是三年多以来企业借款首次出现滑坡——大衰退至今,它一直是增长最快的一类贷款。

说来也怪,令人失望的贷款数据对特朗普来说有可能是件好事。这位总统曾表示,多德-弗兰克法案等条条框框制约了银行贷款,包括向他的朋友们提供的贷款。几乎没有证据能体现这一点。然而,如果银行借贷持续放缓,特朗普或许就会有更多的理由来解除管制。特朗普早就说过,他愿意这样做。

虽然股市在特朗普当选后一度走强,但越来越多的迹象表明,特朗普几乎已经成了经济“减速带”,至少目前是这样。已经有人指出,特朗普的施政建议,特别是在贸易方面的,甚至有可能正在损害美国经济,进而使其出现“特朗普”大滑坡。资产管理公司贝莱德(BlackRock)首席执行官、总统商业顾问委员会成员拉里·芬克在本周三的一次会议上指出,他认为特朗普经济政策的不确定性已经给全球经济增长带来了不利影响。芬克说:“我确实相信目前经济正在放缓,原因就是这些不确定因素。”(财富中文网)

 

作者:Stephen Gandel

译者:Charlie

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