【中英全文】鲍威尔演讲:“采取适当行动维系经济扩张”

2019/06/05 11:17
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本文系美联储主席鲍威尔 (Jerome H. Powell) 2019年6月4日在由美联储主办、于芝加哥联储举办的“货币政策策略、工具和沟通做法会议” ("Conference on Monetary Policy Strategy, Tools, and Communications Practices") 上的开场白。

译者:朱尘

编者:张一苇

正文部分

Good morning. I am very pleased to welcome you here today. This conference is part of a first-ever public review by the Federal Open Market Committee of our monetary policy strategy, tools, and communications. We have a distinguished group of experts from academics and other walks of life here to share perspectives on how monetary policy can best serve the public.

早上好。欢迎诸位的到来。本次会议是美联储联邦公开市场委员会 (FOMC) 首次就我们的货币政策策略、工具和沟通举行公开评审的一个环节。会议聚集了来自学界和其他各行各业的顶尖专家,与诸位分享货币政策如何最好地为公众服务的观点。

I’d like first to say a word about recent developments involving trade negotiations and other matters. We do not know how or when these issues will be resolved. We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective. My comments today, like this conference, will focus on longer-run issues that will remain even as the issues of the moment evolve.

首先,我想谈谈涉及贸易谈判和其他事态的最新进展。我们并不知道这些问题会在何时以怎样的方式得到解决。我们正在密切关注这些进展对美国经济前景的影响;而在强劲的劳动力市场和接近我们对称2%目标的通胀背景下,我们也将一如既往地采取适当的行动来维系经济扩张。我今天的评论,就像本次会议一样,将集中讨论那些哪怕现状出现变化也仍会继续困扰我们的长期问题。

While central banks face a challenging environment today, those challenges are not entirely new. In fact, in 1999 the Federal Reserve System hosted a conference titled "Monetary Policy in a Low Inflation Environment." Conference participants discussed new challenges that were emerging after the then-recent victory over the Great Inflation.1 They focused on many questions posed by low inflation and, in particular, on what unconventional tools a central bank might use to support the economy if interest rates fell to what we now call the effective lower bound (ELB). Even though the Bank of Japan was grappling with the ELB as the conference met, the issue seemed remote for the United States. The conference received little coverage in the financial press, but a Reuters wire service story titled "Fed Conference Timing on Inflation Odd, but Useful" emphasized the remoteness of the risk.2 Participants at the conference could not have anticipated that only 10 years later, the world would be engulfed in a deep financial crisis, with unemployment soaring and central banks around the world making extensive use of new strategies, tools, and ways to communicate.

虽然中央银行目前面临一个充满挑战的环境,但这些挑战对我们并非完全陌生。事实上,在1999年美联储主办了一次题为“低通胀环境下的货币政策”的会议。与会者讨论了当时刚刚战胜大通胀后出现的新挑战。他们关注的是低通胀带来的许多问题,特别是如果利率下降到我们现在称之为有效下限 (ELB) 的水平,中央银行可能会用什么非常规工具来支持经济。尽管日本央行在会议召开期间正努力解决ELB带来的问题,但这个问题对当时的美国而言似乎遥不可及。该次会议在财经媒体上几乎没有得到报道,路透社的报道题为“美联储会议对通货膨胀关注的时机奇怪、但有用“,报道中强调我们距离风险还远。当时的与会者无法预料到,在仅仅10年后,世界将陷入严重金融危机,失业率飙升,世界各地的中央银行广泛使用新的策略、工具和沟通方式。

The next time policy rates hit the ELB—and there will be a next time—it will not be a surprise. We are now well aware of the challenges the ELB presents, and we have the painful experience of the Global Financial Crisis and its aftermath to guide us. Our obligation to the public we serve is to take those measures now that will put us in the best position deal with our next encounter with the ELB. And with the economy growing, unemployment low, and inflation low and stable, this is the right time to engage the public broadly on these topics.

下一次政策利率触及ELB时——一定会有下一次——这不会令人感到意外。我们现在很清楚ELB所带来的挑战,同时我们还拥有全球金融危机的惨痛教训,其后果也将继续指引我们。我们对所服务的公众的义务是在当下就采取措施,使我们能够为下次触及ELB做好万全的准备。随着经济增长,失业率走低,通货膨胀稳定保持在低位,现在正是让公众广泛参与这些话题的恰当时机。

The review has several parts, all of which are intended to open our monetary policy to critical examination. We are holding a series of Fed Listens events around the country to help us understand the perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds and with varied interests. This conference and many other engagements will help us bring to bear the best thinking from policymakers and experts. Beginning later this year, the FOMC will devote time at a series of our regular meetings to assess lessons from these events, supported by staff analysis performed throughout the Federal Reserve System. We will publicly report the outcome of our discussions. In the meantime, anyone who is interested in participating or learning more can find information on the Federal Reserve Board's website.3

评审分为几个环节,所有环节都旨在就我们的货币政策公开征求批判性评论。我们正在全国范围内举办一系列“美联储在聆听” (Fed Listens) 活动,以帮助我们了解来自各种背景、有着不同利益诉求的人们的观点。这次会议和其他活动将帮助我们充分运用政策制定者和专家们的独到见解。今年晚些时候开始,联邦公开市场委员会将花时间在一系列定期会议上评估这些活动带来的经验成果,联储系统的全体员工都将参与到对这些成果的分析当中。我们将公开报告我们的讨论结果。与此同时,任何有兴趣参与或了解更多的人都可以在美联储的官方网站上找到相关信息。

Before turning to the specifics of the review, I want to focus a little more closely on the challenges we face today. For a reference point, at the time of the 1999 conference, the United States was eight years into an expansion; core inflation was 1.4 percent, and the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent—not so different from today.4 Macroeconomists were puzzling over the flatness of the Phillips curve, the level of the natural rate of unemployment, and a possible acceleration in productivity growth—questions that are also with us today.5

在谈及评审的具体细节之前,我想给予我们当前所面临的挑战更多关注。作为参考点,在1999年的会议召开时,美国经济扩张已经持续了八年之久;核心通胀率为1.4%,失业率为4.1%,与当下的情况没有太大的差异。宏观经济学家们对菲利普斯曲线的平坦形态,自然失业率的水平以及生产率增长的可能加速感到困惑 - 这些同样是我们今天所面临的问题。

The big difference between then and now is that the federal funds rate was 5.2 percent—which, to underscore the point, put the rate 20 quarter-point rate cuts away from the ELB. Since then, standard estimates of the longer-run normal or neutral rate of interest have declined between 2 and 3 percentage points, and some argue that the effective decline is even larger.6 The combination of lower real interest rates and low inflation translates into lower nominal rates and a much higher likelihood that rates will fall to the ELB in a downturn.

当时与当下的状况之间最大的区别在于,当时的联邦基金利率为5.2%——划重点讲,这意味着在利率水平触及ELB之前,可以进行20次每次25bp的降息操作。自那时以来,长期正常或中性利率的标准估计值下降了2到3个百分点,有些人认为实效下降的幅度更大。更低实际利率和更低通货膨胀的结合转化为更低的名义利率,并且在经济低迷时利率下滑触及ELB的可能性要高得多。

As the experience of the past decade showed, extended ELB episodes can be associated with painfully high unemployment and slow growth or recession. Economic weakness puts downward pressure on inflation, which can raise real interest rates and reinforce the challenge of supporting needed job growth. In addition, over time, inflation has become much less sensitive to tightness in resource utilization. This insensitivity can be a blessing in avoiding deflation when unemployment is high, but it means that much greater labor market tightness may ultimately be required to bring inflation back to target in a recovery. Using monetary policy to push sufficiently hard on labor markets to lift inflation could pose risks of destabilizing excesses in financial markets or elsewhere.

正如过去十年的经验所表明的那样,利率长期处在ELB水平,可能伴随着痛苦的高失业率和增速放缓或经济衰退。经济疲软给通胀带来下行压力,这可能会提高实际利率并加剧支持所需就业增长的挑战。此外,随着时间的推移,通货膨胀对资源利用的紧俏程度变得不那么敏感了。当失业率居高不下时,这种不敏感性可以成为避免通货紧缩的福音,但这意味着最终可能需要劳动力市场变得更为紧俏,才能使通货膨胀回归复苏目标。利用货币政策充分推动劳动力市场以提振通胀,可能会造成金融市场或其他部门过剩的不稳定风险。

In short, the proximity of interest rates to the ELB has become the preeminent monetary policy challenge of our time, tainting all manner of issues with ELB risk and imbuing many old challenges with greater significance. For example, the behavior of inflation7 now draws much sharper focus. When nominal interest rates were around 4 or 5 percent, a low-side surprise of a few tenths on inflation did not raise the specter of the ELB. But the world has changed. Core inflation is currently running a bit below 2 percent on a trailing 12-month basis. In this setting, a similar low-side surprise, if it were to persist, would bring us uncomfortably closer to the ELB. My FOMC colleagues and I must—and do—take seriously the risk that inflation shortfalls that persist even in a robust economy could precipitate a difficult-to-arrest downward drift in inflation expectations. At the heart of the review is the evaluation of potential changes to our strategy designed to strengthen the credibility of our symmetric 2 percent inflation objective.

简而言之,利率水平逼近ELB已经成为我们这个时代不可忽视的货币政策挑战,ELB风险衍生出各种问题,使许多旧挑战更具意义。例如,通胀表现现在需要更加犀利的关注。当名义利率约为4%或5%时,通货膨胀几个分位的意外下行并不会加剧触及ELB的风险。但世界已经发生变化。在过去12个月中,核心通胀略低于2%。在这种情况下,类似的意外下行如果持续发生,会让我们过于接近ELB。我和我在FOMC的同事必须——并且确实——认真对待这样的风险,即在强劲经济中持续存在的通货膨胀疲软,可能导致通货膨胀预期难以遏制的向下偏离。本次评审的核心在于评估我们策略的潜在变动,旨在加强我们对称2%通胀目标的可信度。

The ELB problem also complicates the FOMC's efforts to achieve transparency and accountability. The Fed, like most major central banks, is insulated from short-term political pressures. In our democracy, that insulation carries with it an obligation for us to be transparent and publicly accountable. When policy rates reached the ELB during the crisis, central banks resorted to what were then new, untested tools to pursue their mandated goals. These tools are no longer new, but their efficacy, costs, and risks remain less well understood than the traditional approaches to central banking. My FOMC colleagues and I are committed to explaining why the use of these tools in the wake of the crisis was a prudent and effective approach to pursuing our congressional mandate and why tools like these are likely to be needed again. Our review is but one part of our efforts to engage with the public on these matters.

ELB问题也使FOMC实现透明度和问责制的努力变得复杂化。与大多数主要央行一样,美联储不受短期政治压力的影响。在我们的民主制度中,这种政治隔离使得我们有义务保持透明度并向公众负责。当危机期间政策利率触及ELB时,央行采用了当时还未经检验的新工具来实现其法定目标。这些工具已不再新鲜,但它们的功效、成本和风险仍然比传统的中央银行方法更难理解。我在FOMC的同事和我致力于解释为什么在危机之后继续使用这些工具是完成国会授予法定目标的一种审慎有效的方法,以及为什么这样的工具可能会再次派上用场。本次评审是在这些事务上让公众参与进来的重要一环。

Let me turn to the specifics of the review, which is focused on three questions:

Can the Federal Reserve best meet its statutory objectives with its existing monetary policy strategy, or should it consider strategies that aim to reverse past misses of the inflation objective?

Are the existing monetary policy tools adequate to achieve and maintain maximum employment and price stability, or should the toolkit be expanded?

How can the FOMC's communication of its policy framework and implementation be improved?

接下来允许我谈一谈评审的具体内容,重点是三个问题:

  1. 为了最好地实现其法定目标,美联储是应该延续现有的货币政策策略,还是应该考虑旨在改变通胀目标过往错失情况的策略

  2. 现有的货币政策工具是否足以实现和维持最大限度的就业和价格稳定,还是应该扩充工具包

  3. FOMC就其政策框架与实施的沟通有何可以改进之处

These questions are quite broad, and my colleagues and I come to them with open minds. We believe our current policy framework is working well, and we have made no decisions about particular changes. In fact, the review is still in its early stages.

这些问题相当宽泛,而我和我的同事以开放的心态面对它们。我们认为我们目前的政策框架运作良好,我们没有就特定变化做出任何决定。事实上,评审仍处于初期阶段。

The first question raises the issue of whether the FOMC should use makeup strategies in response to ELB risks. By the time of the 1999 conference, research was beginning to show that—in models, at least—such strategies could substantially reduce the unemployment and other costs of ELB spells.8 The simplest version goes like this: Suppose that a spell with interest rates near the ELB leads to a persistent shortfall of inflation relative to the central bank's goal. But what if the central bank promised credibly that it would deliberately make up for any lost inflation by stimulating the economy and temporarily pushing inflation modestly above the target? In the models, the prospect of future stimulus promotes anticipatory consumption and investment that could greatly reduce the pain of being at the ELB.9 Policymakers discussed this reasoning in the wake of the crisis, but neither the Fed nor any other major central bank chose to pursue such a policy.10 Why? For makeup strategies to work, households and businesses must go out on a limb, so to speak, raising spending in the midst of a downturn. In theory, they would do this based on their confidence that the central bank will deliver the makeup stimulus at some point—perhaps years in the future. In models, great confidence in central bankers is achieved by assumption. Despite the flattering nature of this assumption, crisis-era policymakers had major questions about whether their promise of good times to come would really have moved the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of the public. Part of the problem was that the groundwork had not been laid in advance of the downturn—a problem we could hope to fix well before next time. Policymakers also had deeper concerns about the legitimacy and effectiveness of attempting to bind some future FOMC to take actions that could be objectionable from a short-term perspective when the time came to deliver.11

第一个问题提出了FOMC是否应该使用补偿策略来应对ELB风险的议题。1999年的会议召开时,诸多研究显示——至少在模型中如此——这样的策略可以大大降低ELB带来的失业和其他成本。最简单的版本是这样的:假设利率水平逼近ELB,导致通货膨胀相对于央行目标的持续短缺(达不到通胀目标)。但如果中央银行给出可信承诺,通过刺激经济并将通胀暂时推高至目标上方,刻意补偿任何通胀短缺所带来的损失呢?在这些模型中,未来刺激计划的前景促进了预期性消费和投资,这可以大大减轻利率触及ELB时的阵痛。在危机之后,政策制定者探讨了这种策略逻辑,但美联储和任何其他主要央行都没有选择采取这样的政策。为什么?这种补偿策略要得以生效,家庭和企业必须冒险在经济衰退期间增加支出。理论上讲,他们会基于对央行将在某个时间点(可能是未来几年)采取补偿刺激措施的信心来做到这一点。在模型中,这种对央行家们的高度信任是给定的假设条件。尽管这种假设有自吹自擂的成分,但对未来美好前景的承诺是否会真正改变公众的情绪、思维和消费行为,危机时代的政策制定者们仍心存怀疑。问题的部分原因在于,经济衰退之前没有(为这种央行承诺的可信度)奠定基础——这是我们希望在下次经济下行之前能够好好解决的问题。此外,政策制定者更担心这种“迫使”未来FOMC采取行动的尝试的合法性和有效性,尤其是考虑到在危机干预的节骨眼上,这种“约束力”很可能招致短期角度的争议。

Research on makeup strategies has begun to grapple more seriously with the credibility questions.12 But important questions remain. To achieve buy-in by households and businesses, a comprehensible, credible, and actionable makeup strategy will need to be followed by years of central bank policy consistent with that strategy.

关于补偿策略的研究已开始更加严肃地对待可信度问题。但重要问题仍悬而未决。为了得到家庭和企业的支持,需要采用一种易于理解、可靠且可行的补偿策略,以及之后多年遵循该策略的中央银行政策实践。

The second question asks about the adequacy of the Fed's toolkit for providing stimulus when facing the ELB. In the United States, we used several different formulations of both forward guidance and large‑scale purchases of longer-term securities.13 While views differ on the effectiveness of these policies, with their use, the unemployment rate fell steadily and inflation expectations remained well anchored, outcomes that were favorable overall when viewed against the recoveries of many other advanced economies. My own view is that these policies provided meaningful support for demand, but that they should not be thought of as a perfect substitute for our traditional interest rate tool. In any case, we have a responsibility to thoroughly evaluate what mix of these tools is likely to work best when the next ELB episode arrives.

第二个问题是在面对ELB时,提供刺激的美联储政策工具包是否充分。在美国,我们采用过前瞻指引和大规模购买长期证券的几种不同组合。虽然对这些政策的有效性有不同看法,但伴随其使用,失业率稳步下降,通胀预期仍然稳固,从许多其他发达经济体的复苏来看,总体结果是有利的。我个人认为,这些政策为需求提供了有意义的支持,但不应将其视为我们传统利率工具的完美替代品。无论如何,我们有责任在下一个ELB时期到来前彻底评估这些工具的哪种组合最为有效。

Perhaps it is time to retire the term "unconventional" when referring to tools that were used in the crisis. We know that tools like these are likely to be needed in some form in future ELB spells, which we hope will be rare. We now have a significant body of evidence regarding the effectiveness, costs, and risks of these tools, including those used by the FOMC and others tried elsewhere. Our plans must take advantage of this growing understanding as assessments are refined.

或许现在是时候舍弃形容危机时期政策工具的“非常规”一词了。我们知道在未来的ELB场景(当然我们希望这种场景越少越好)中,可能会以某种形式用到这些工具。我们现在掌握着大量关于这些工具(包括FOMC自己使用过的,乃至其他央行尝试过的)的有效性、成本和风险的证据。通过细致的评估,我们的计划必须充分发掘围绕这些工具日益增长的研究文献。

The third question concerns improving communication, which I discussed earlier from the standpoint of governance and accountability. But transparency also plays a central role in policy effectiveness through its effects on the expectations of households and businesses. Of course, this was the major insight behind the transparency revolution in central banking over the past few decades. Today, central banks publicly share a large and ever-increasing amount of information about policy. But policymakers and commentators inside and outside central banks sometimes question whether all of the transparency adds up to effective communication.14

第三个问题涉及改善沟通,我在之前从治理和问责制的角度讨论了这个问题。但透明度通过其对家庭和企业预期产生的影响,亦在政策有效性方面发挥着核心作用。当然,这是过去几十年中央银行透明度改革的主要发现。如今,中央银行公开分享大量且不断增加的政策信息。但中央银行内外的政策制定者和评论员有时会质疑,完全的透明度是否会带来有效的沟通。

The FOMC's famous dot plot is one example. A focus on the median forecast amounts to emphasizing what the typical FOMC participant would do if things go as expected. But we have been living in times characterized by large, frequent, unexpected changes in the underlying structure of the economy.15 In this environment, the most important policy message may be about how the central bank will respond to the unexpected rather than what it will do if there are no surprises. Unfortunately, at times the dot plot has distracted attention from the more important topic of how the FOMC will react to unexpected economic developments. In times of high uncertainty, the median dot might best be thought of as the least unlikely outcome.

著名的FOMC点阵图就是一个例子。对图上中位预测的关注,相当于强调在事态如预期发展的情况下,典型FOMC参与者会采取什么样的行动。然而我们生活的这个时代的特点是,在经济基础结构内部常会发生大规模的意外变化。在这种环境下,最重要的政策信息或许是央行会如何应对意外情况,而不是在没有意外情况下采取的行动。不幸的是,点阵图有时分散了人们对FOMC如何应对意外经济发展这一更重要话题的注意力。在高度不确定性期间,点阵图的中位预测最好是被当作不发生可能性最小 (least unlikely) 的结果。

Let me conclude by saying that I look forward to our discussions here and to the ongoing work of the review that lies ahead. We need the best tools and strategies possible for dealing with the challenges we now face, and we must communicate them in a clear and credible way. My colleagues and I welcome your best thinking on these issues.

最后,我想说的是,我期待着本次会议上的讨论以及未来持续的评审工作。我们需要最好的工具和策略来应对我们现在面临的挑战,我们必须以清晰可信的方式进行沟通。我和我的同事欢迎大家就这些问题提供独到的见解。


来源:Powell, Jerome H., Opening Remarks at the "Conference on Monetary Policy Strategy, Tools, and Communications Practices", Federal Reserve Board - Speeches, Jun. 4th 2019

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