What the maturing tech cycle signals for the global economy

成熟的技术周期对全球经济的影响

2019/05/07 16:01
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对照中文英文原文
成熟的技术周期是年初中国贸易大幅放缓的原因之一。

A maturing tech cycle has been one of the factors behind the significant trade slowdown in China at the turn of the year. The tech cycle argument rests on the fact that China and other key Asian economies, including Japan, are closely integrated through supply chains concentrated, especially, in the production of computers and other electronic devices – the tech sector. The maturing tech cycle may reflect a number of factors: it could be associated with more structural sector-specific drivers, such as the possibility of an increasing level of saturation in the global market for smartphones and for new data centres; it could relate to mini-cycles linked to the launch of new models of tech products; or it may signal, more generally, a turn in the global business cycle. This box reviews basic characteristics of the Asian tech sector and shows that it has played an important role in the recent weakness in China’s trade. At the same time, the box also suggests that the trend in the global tech cycle associated with weaker trade in Asia may be bottoming out.

成熟的技术周期是年初中国贸易大幅放缓的原因之一。科技周期论证的依据是,中国和包括日本在内的其他主要亚洲经济体通过供应链紧密结合,特别是在计算机和其他电子设备 - 科技行业的生产中。成熟的技术周期可能反映了许多因素:它可能与更具结构性的行业特定驱动因素相关联,例如智能手机和新数据中心全球市场饱和度增加的可能性;它可能涉及与推出新型科技产品相关的小周期;或者它可能更普遍地表明全球商业周期的转变。本文回顾了亚洲科技行业的基本特征,并表明它在近期中国贸易疲软中发挥了重要作用。与此同时,本文还表明,与亚洲贸易疲软相关的全球科技周期趋势可能正在触底反弹。

Weak merchandise imports from other key Asian economies have accounted for a substantial share of decelerating Chinese imports in recent months (see Chart A). Imports from the United States have also declined, partly as retaliatory tariffs on soybeans have diverted Chinese demand for soybeans to Brazil. At the same time, China has significantly increased imports of various commodities, including crude oil.

近几个月来自其他主要亚洲经济体的商品进口疲软占中国进口减速的很大一部分(见图A)。来自美国的进口也有所下降,部分原因是对大豆的报复性关税已将中国对大豆的需求转移到巴西。与此同时,中国大幅增加了包括原油在内的各种商品的进口。

Chart A

图表A.

Chinese imports by exporting country and regions

中国进口:国家和地区

(USD billions)

(十亿美元)

Sources: China Customs via Haver Analytics and ECB calculations.

资料来源:中国海关。

China and other Asian economies are specialised in tech sector production and satisfy around half of global demand for tech products. China alone accounts for more than a quarter of the sector’s global value added. The structure of Asian economies, with a notable exception of India, which specialises in IT services, is skewed towards tech production. This sector accounts, on average, for around 7% of total value added in the region. A high degree of specialisation in tech production is even more pronounced when looking at exports, where tech products account, on average, for more than a quarter of exported goods from the region (see Chart B). Asia dominates the tech sector also from a global perspective: it accounts for around half of the sector’s global value added and for more than two-thirds of global tech exports. Asian tech exports account for 10% of total global trade.

中国和其他亚洲经济体专注于科技行业的生产,并满足全球约一半的科技产品需求。仅中国就占该行业全球增加值的四分之一以上。除了印度专门从事IT服务外,亚洲经济体的结构偏向于技术生产。该部门平均占该地区总增加值的7%左右。在研究出口时,高科技生产的专业化程度更加明显,其中科技产品平均占该地区出口商品的四分之一以上(见图B)。从全球的角度来看,亚洲也主导着科技行业:它占该行业全球增加值的一半左右,占全球科技出口的三分之二以上。亚洲科技产品出口占全球贸易总额的10%。

Chart B

图表B.

Specialisation in the tech sector is common across Asian economies

亚洲各经济体的科技行业专业化很常见

(percentages; index: 2015)

(百分比;指数:2015)

Sources: OECD and ECB calculations.

资料来源:经合组织和欧洲央行的计算。

The Asian tech supply chain connects advanced economies and emerging markets, with China the largest producer of final products. Japan and Korea are positioned upstream in the supply chain and, together with Taiwan, specialise in the production of semiconductors and chips. China remains the key assembler of final products in spite of a significant decline in import intensity. The import content of its tech production, which is subsequently exported, declined to 27% in 2015 from 40% only a decade ago, pointing to its declining dependence on intermediate goods sourced from the region. A country’s relative position in the supply chain determines whether domestic macroeconomic developments could provide useful signals also for global trends.

亚洲科技供应链连接发达经济体和新兴市场,中国是最大产品生产国。日本和韩国位于供应链的上游,与台湾一起专注于半导体和芯片的生产。尽管进口强度大幅下降,中国仍是最终产品的主要装配商。其技术产品的进口复出口,从十年前的40%降至2015年的27%,表明其对来自该地区的中间产品的依赖度下降。一个国家在供应链中的相对位置决定了国内宏观经济发展是否也能为全球趋势提供有用的信号。

While the global tech cycle turned in early 2018, an orderly slowdown followed by some stabilisation seems the most likely scenario looking ahead. Recent indicators of the tech cycle point to a slowdown in the global tech cycle (see Chart C). However, there are some signs that suggest a stabilisation in the period ahead. First, financial market expectations for sectoral developments in the region – approximated by the Philadelphia Semiconductors Index (see Chart C, red line) – point towards some bottoming out this year, after falling in 2018. Second, while the global PMI for new export orders in the manufacturing sector has remained below the expansion-contraction threshold of 50, the pace of its decline in recent months has been significantly less steep than in the first half of 2018. Although it covers a broader set of exported products, it also shows a fairly high correlation with sectoral stock prices and thus could provide some further evidence of stabilisation in the global tech sector. And third, Korean exports of semiconductors – often used as another leading indicator of activity in the tech sector – have recently shown signs of stabilisation. Broader indices of activity in the technology sector, which are published with a somewhat longer lag and include the US Tech Pulse Index, and global trade in electronic components also suggests some limited weakening in the sector’s growth momentum. Overall, therefore, the turning of the global tech cycle seems partly to reflect a rather exceptionally strong period in 2017, related to substantial investment in expanding capacities of data centres globally. Despite a high degree of uncertainty, a soft landing currently seems a more likely scenario.

虽然全球技术周期在2018年初出现转机,但随后出现了有序放缓,然后出现了一些稳定的情况。最近的技术周期指标显示全球科技周期放缓(见图C)。然而,有一些迹象表明未来一段时期会出现稳定。首先,金融市场对该地区行业发展的预期 - 费城半导体指数(见图C,红线) - 指向2018年下跌后的今年触底反弹。其次,新出口订单的全球采购经理人指数制造业仍然低于50的扩张 - 收缩门槛,近几个月的下降速度明显低于2018年上半年。虽然它涵盖了更广泛的出口产品,但它也显示了与部门股票价格具有相当高的相关性,因此可以为全球科技行业提供一些稳定的进一步证据。第三,韩国半导体出口 - 经常被用作科技行业活动的另一个领先指标 - 最近出现了稳定迹象。技术部门的更广泛的活动指数,包括美国技术脉冲指数,以及全球电子元件贸易,也表明该部门的增长势头有限的削弱。因此,总的来说,全球科技周期的转变似乎部分反映了2017年相当异常强劲的时期,与全球数据中心扩容能力的大量投资有关。尽管存在很大程度的不确定性,但目前似乎更有可能出现软着陆。

Chart C

图表C.

Tracking the global “tech cycle”

跟踪全球“科技周期”

(left-hand scale: diffusion index; right-hand scale: annual percentage changes)

(左轴:扩散指数;右轴:年度百分比变化)

Sources: Markit, Thomson Financial Datastream, FRED, KITA and ECB staff calculations.

消息来源:Markit,Thomson Financial Datastream,FRED,KITA和ECB员工计算。

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