美国债市为啥突然之间变了天?

2019/08/27 07:12
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近日,美国债市突然间来了个翻天覆地,令市场对美国经济陷入衰退的担忧情绪升温,让投资者的情绪变得焦躁不安,并导致美国股市遭遇今年以来最大幅度的下跌。到底发生了什么?

Recently, the bond market flipped upside down—raising recession fears, unnerving investors and driving stock markets to one of their worst days all year. What’s going on?

近日,美国债市突然间来了个翻天覆地,令市场对美国经济陷入衰退的担忧情绪升温,让投资者的情绪变得焦躁不安,并导致美国股市遭遇今年以来最大幅度的下跌。到底发生了什么?

Bond yields in major developed countries declined sharply in mid-August, bringing the total amount of negative-yielding bonds around the globe to more than $16 trillion. The entire German yield curve is below zero. In the U.S., the 30-year Treasury yield fell below 2% for the first time in history, causing the yield spread between two-year/10-year Treasuries to invert briefly, for the first time since 2007. The three-month/10-year spread has been inverted on and off since March.

主要发达国家的国债收益率在8月中旬大幅下挫,导致全球负收益率债券的总量升至16万亿美元以上。各期限德国国债的收益率水平均低于零,30年期美国国债收益率历史上首次跌破2%,结果造成10年期和2年期美国国债收益率之间的利差短暂出现倒挂,为2007年以来所仅有;10年期和3个月期美国国债收益率之间的利差自三月份以来也时不时地出现倒挂。

Because yield curve inversions have preceded every U.S. recession in modern history (although in some cases an inversion has sent a false signal), the state of the yield curve triggered recession fears, driving stocks sharply lower.

最近几十年来,在每次美国经济衰退出现之前,美国国债收益率曲线均出现倒挂,尽管这种倒挂也曾在事后被证明是“谎报军情”,但当前国债收益率曲线的形态引发市场对美国经济即将陷入衰退的担忧,并导致美国股市大幅下挫。

30-year Treasury bond yields dipped below 2% for the first time ever in August

就在8月份,30年期美国国债的收益率历史上首次跌破2%

Source: Bloomberg, daily data as of 08/15/2019. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

It isn’t supposed to work this way. Negative interest rates—especially at the long end of the yield curve—are a new phenomenon. Bonds shouldn’t have negative yields. You don’t pay a borrower to take a loan from you. Not only should bond yields be positive, but longer-term bonds should have higher yields than short-term bonds—that’s a “normal” yield curve. Investors usually demand a risk premium to compensate for tying up their money for a longer period of time. Inverted yields, besides being abnormal, also tend to occur when the Federal Reserve has been tightening policy aggressively to quell inflation—not when it is easing rates, as it has done recently.

情况按说本不该如此。利率水平是负的,尤其是在国债收益率曲线的远端出现负利率,是一种前所未有的新情况。债券本不应该有负收益率,有人从你这借钱,你还给他钱,这不扯吗?债券收益率不仅应该是正的,而且长期限债券的收益率应该高于短期限债券的收益率,这才是一条正常的债券收益率曲线应该的样子。投资者通常会要求给与风险溢价以补偿长期锁定资金的风险。倒挂的债券收益率曲线不但是异常的,且往往是在美联储激进地紧缩货币政策以遏制通胀的情况下才发生的,而不是放松货币政策的时期,就像眼前这样。

While many of the questions investors are asking have no easy answers, here are a few thoughts on some of the most common concerns:

虽然投资者所问的很多问题不好回答,但以下是我对几个最常见问题的一些想法:

1. Why are bond yields negative in so many countries?

为什么有如此多国家的曲线是负的?

Negative-yielding bonds are the result of both short- and long-term factors. Short-term factors include:

负收益率的债券是长期因素和短期因素共同作用的结果,以下是短期因素:

  • Slowing global growth compounded by the U.S.-China trade war. Europe is on the cusp of recession, with the manufacturing sector already in contraction in Germany, its largest economy. China’s industrial production growth rate has slowed to a 17-year low amid a falling demand for manufactured goods, while its credit growth has slowed to a crawl.

    全球两个最大国家间的摩擦让全球经济增速放缓的局面更加恶化。欧洲即将步入衰退,德国经济最主要的组成部分-制造业已经处于收缩状态,中国的工业生产增速也放缓至17年来的最低点,因工业产成品的市场需求出现下降,信贷增速已减缓到好比爬行。

  • Fears that the trade war will last a long time. A protracted trade war could weigh on global growth and potentially pull the U.S. into a recession.

    有担心摩擦将持续下去。摩擦迁延日久会给全球经济成长带来巨大的压力并有可能拖累美国经济走向衰退。

  • Negative policy rates in many countries. The European Central Bank (ECB), the Swiss National Bank, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and others have pushed short-term rates to zero or below in an effort to stimulate lending and economic growth. It’s notable that more than 40% of the negative-yielding bonds are in Japan, with the rest European in origin.

    很多国家的政策性利率为负利率。欧洲央行,瑞士央行、日本银行以及其他一些央行将短期利率的水平推至零甚至更低以刺激商业银行放贷和提振经济增速。值得注意的是,全球有超过40%的负收益率债券出现在日本,剩下的是在欧洲。

  • Large central bank balance sheets have reduced the supply of bonds available to the market. The Fed has reduced its balance sheet, but only by about $650 million from a peak level of $4.5 trillion, and will soon hold it steady. The ECB has bought up much of the supply on the market, and issuance is low because budgets aren’t expanding. The BOJ largely buys whatever bonds are issued.

    央行资产负债表的规模变得非常庞大导致二级市场上的债券供应总量出现减少。美联储一直在削减资产负债规模,但与最高时曾达到的4.5万亿美元峰值相比只减少了6500亿美元,而且很快就将开始停止缩表,将规模维持在当前的水平上;欧洲央行在二级市场上大量购买各国国债,而新发行的国债数量却因各国预算规模没有出现扩张而维持在低位;日本银行基本上买光了日本新发行的所有国债。

Central bank asset holdings as percent of gross domestic product

各国央行的资产负债规模相当于各国GDP的比率

Sources: Bloomberg. Federal Reserve (BSPGCPUS), European Central Bank (9BSPGCPEU), Bank of Japan (BSPGCPJP), Bank of England (BSPGCPGB). Monthly data as of 7/31/2019.

Then there are the long-term factors, the ones that affect the term premium* (as “term premium” isn’t a phrase you typically hear in daily conversation, I’ve included a review of the concept below). These long-term factors include:

以下是长期因素,长期因素影响的是期限溢价的水平(关于期限溢价,见文后注解):

  • Aging populations in developed countries, leading to rising demand for income-generating invest  ments, like bonds.

    发达国家的人口老龄化,导致对能带来现金流收入的金融资产(诸如债券之类)的需求出现上升;

  • Markets don’t believe central banks will be able to raise policy rates much or at all over the long run, due to slow growth, low inflation, and an overhang of debt.

    市场认为,由于经济增速放缓,通胀率持续处于低位以及债务问题积重难返,从长期来看各大央行不具备大幅提升政策性利率水平的能力或干脆不可能加息

  • Deflation or “Japanification” fears. Japan has spent the past few decades fighting deflation due to an aging and declining population, and slow growth due to too much debt. Some economists fear other advanced economies could fall into the same long-term rut.

    对通缩或“通缩问题日本化”的担忧。在过去几十年里日本一直在与因人口老龄化和人口总量减少带来的通缩问题以及债务过多导致的经济增速放缓问题进行抗争,一些经济学家担忧其他发达国家也会被同样的问题长期折磨;

  • Strong demand for long duration, safe assets by insurance companies and pension funds that need assets to match up with their liabilities.

    保险公司和养老基金对长久期、高安全性的金融资产有很强的需求,以满足其资产与负债的配置需求。

2. Who in the world would buy negative-yielding bonds?

究竟是谁在买负收益率的债券?

  • Institutions: As mentioned above, pension funds and insurance companies need long-term assets to offset long-term liabilities to aging populations. As long-term bond yields fall at a faster rate, these investors are forced to chase the yield lower, sending prices—which move inversely to yields—higher.

    机构投资者。前面提到,养老基金和保险公司需要长期限的资产来匹配来自于日益老龄化的客户所提供的长期限负债。长期债券收益率的下降速度之快前所未有,这些投资者不得不争相抢购高收益的债券资产,结果导致债券收益率越来越低,而债券价格则越来越高;

  • Banks: Regulations require banks to hold government bonds as part of their capital buffer against loan or trading losses.

    商业银行。监管要求商业银行必须持有一些国债来作为其拨备资本的一个组成部分以消化贷款或交易方面产生的亏损;

  • Speculators and/or deflationists: For investors who expectbond prices to continue rising, it doesn’t matter if the yield is negative. Deflationists expect bond prices to move higher.

    投机人士和/或通缩主义者:对于预期债券价格将继续上涨的投资者来说,债券的收益率是不是负的无关紧要;通缩主义者则预期债券价格还会继续上行;

  • Safe-haven seekers: Investors who are looking for safety or a hedge against a decline in equities appear willing to pay a price in the form of a small negative yield. This is occurring outside the U.S., where short-term rates are more negative than long-term yields. In the U.S., cash and cash-equivalent investments (such as Treasury bills or money market funds) still offer a decent yield.

    避险投资者。投资者似乎愿意为了避险或对冲股票下跌风险而接受以幅度不大的负收益率作为代价。这种情况出现在美国之外的其他国家,其短期利率的水平比长期限的收益率更深地陷入负利率区间;而美国的现金和现金类资产(比如短期美国国债或货币市场基金)仍能提供不错的正回报;

  • Central banks: Central banks are indifferent to price or yield during quantitative easing programs.

    各国央行。在量化宽松时期,各国央行不在乎债券价格或收益率的水平。

3. Does the inverted yield curve mean there is a recession coming soon?

国债收益率曲线是倒挂否意味着经济很快就将步入衰退?

  • Not necessarily, but it does signal that the risk of recession is rising. An inverted yield has been a reliable indicator of recession. Every recession in modern history has been preceded by an inverted yield curve. However, not every inversion has led to a recession in the next one to two years; there have been a few false signals.

    不一定,但确实发出了衰退风险上升的信号。以往国债收益率曲线的倒挂是一个预测经济衰退的可靠指标。最近几十年里,在每一次经济衰退出现之前国债收益率曲线均出现了倒挂,但并不是每一次倒挂出现之后一到两年都会发生经济衰退,有几次事后证明只是误报而已。

  • “It’s different this time.” Those are the four most dangerous words in finance, but every cycle is unique. In this cycle, the unusual feature is that the inversion of the yield curve is being led by the steep drop in long-term rates rather than a sharp rise in the short-term federal funds rate. Although the Fed probably went too far with the rate hikes last year, the economy is still posting trend growth of around 2% to 2.5% or so, and credit still seems to be flowing freely to consumers and businesses at reasonable rates and generally on easy terms.

    “这次会不一样”。这是金融学上最危险的四个单词,但是每一个经济周期都有自己的特点。当前的经济周期不同寻常的地方在于,国债收益率曲线倒挂的原因是长期限利率的深幅下行而不是短期限的联邦基金利率的快速上行。尽管2018年美联储在加息方面可能明显走过了头,但美国经济仍以2%-2.5%左右的增速在扩张,消费者和企业界似乎仍可以合理的利率水平以及总体上比较优厚的条件较容易地获得信贷资金的支持。

  • Flat or inverted yield curves may be the new normal. If the term premium* remains in negative territory for an extended period of time, it is much more likely that the yield curve will tend to be flat or inverted more frequently. The longer-term drivers of the negative term premium suggest that long-term yields may not have that much upside. Consequently, cyclical upswings in growth that push short-term rates higher could mean extended periods of time with the yield curve flat or inverted.

    平坦的或倒挂的国债收益率曲线可能会成为新常态。如果期限溢价的水平仍长期维持在负利率的区间内,非常有可能出现国债收益率曲线愈加频繁地处于平坦或倒挂形态的情况。导致期限溢价为负的长期因素表明长期限美国国债收益率的水平可能没多少上升空间。因此,令美国短期利率的水平走高的美国经济周期性成长有可能意味着美国国债收益率曲线会长期处于平坦或倒挂的形态。

  • Recession is a risk. Nonetheless, with the global economy weakening and the trade war at a standoff, investors are wise to be cautious.

    美国经济衰退是个风险因素。尽管如此,随着全球经济增长势头放缓以及贸易争端陷入僵局,投资者保持谨慎才是明智之举。

Treasury yield curve—a lot has changed

‍美国国债收益率曲线的形态有很多变化

Sources: U.S. Treasury, Bloomberg. Data as of 8/19/2019 (current), 7/19/2019 (month ago) and 8/20/2018 (year ago).

4. What would turn the bond market right side up?

什么东西会扭转美国债券市场的乾坤?

  • A lasting trade deal between the U.S. and China that removed tariffs and resolved longer-term issues about intellectual property rights would likely send bond yields higher. It probably would provide a welcome boost to business confidence and investment in the U.S. and globally.

  • 如果美中之间达成持久的协议,取消新加征的关税并解决在知识产权方面长期存在的矛盾和问题,将有可能推升美国国债收益率的水平,这个结果有可能提振美国以及全球各国的营商信心并促进投资;

  • Fiscal stimulus outside the U.S. There has been some speculation that Germany is considering increased government stimulus to boost growth, as it has a budget surplus. There are also hints that China will shift policy to ease financing provisions to small businesses.

    美国之外的其他国家采取财政刺激举措。有一些猜测认为德国将考虑增加政府开支以提振经济增长,因德国目前处于财政盈余状态;也有迹象表明中国将在政策方面做出转变以放宽对小微企业的融资条件;

  • Inflation. Recent Consumer Price Index and wage growth readings suggest news of the death of inflation may be premature. Inflation is still quite low, but there are hints that it is picking up. Unit labor costs are accelerating and the velocity of money has been rising—two indicators that could mean more inflation in the next one to two years than expected.

    通胀。美国近期公布的消费物价指数和薪酬增速表明现在就得出通胀已死的结论未免言之过早。美国当前的通胀增速仍很低,但有迹象显示通胀增速正在抬头。单位劳动成本正在加速增长,货币流通的速度(概念解释见文后注释)正在加快,这两个指标的表现有可能意味着未来一两年的通胀增速将超预期。

Sources: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED), Bloomberg. Inflation indicators: PCE Deflator = U.S. Personal Consumption Expenditure Deflator; Core PCE = U.S. Personal Consumption Expenditure Core Price Index; Overall CPI = Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items; Core CPI = Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items Less Food and Energy; FRBA Sticky Price CPI Core = Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Sticky Price Consumer Price Index, Less Food and Energy; FRBA Sticky Price CPI = Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Sticky Price Consumer Price Index; FRBC Trimmed-Mean CPI = Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 16% Trimmed-Mean Consumer Price Index % change at annual rate; FRBC Median CPI = Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Median Consumer Price Index % change at annual rate. Monthly data as of 7/31/2019.

5. What should I do now?

投资者现在应怎么做?

  • Focus on higher credit quality. We continue to suggest staying up in credit quality. With the economy growing at a slow pace and yield spreads versus Treasuries relatively low, the risks are rising that lower-rated bonds could be downgraded or could default.

    ‍以高信用等级的债券为投资标的。我们继续建议应保证所投债券的信用质量不降,在美国经济增速放缓以及公司债收益率与同期限国债收益率之间的信用利差处于相对较低水平的情况下,低信用评级的公司债被降级或出现违约的概率在升高;

  • Consider adding intermediate- to longer-term bonds when yields rise. Despite the declining trend in Treasury yields, we believe investors should not abandon their longer-term bond holdings. With the potential for short-term rates to fall even further, intermediate- and longer-term bonds allow investors to lock in yields, and provide diversification benefits in case yields do continue to drop. While “chasing the market” isn’t a good idea, consider periods when yields rise as an opportunity to add longer-duration securities. We also continue to suggest bond barbells and bond ladders as strategies to consider in the current environment.

    在债券收益率上行的情况下应考虑增持中长期的公司债。尽管美国国债的收益率水平处于下降走势之中,我们认为投资者不应放弃持有长期限的公司债。由于短期限利率的水平有继续下行的可能性,中长期的公司债可以让投资者长时间地锁定收益率的水平,并在收益率水平确实出现了继续下行的情况下给投资组合带来多元化分散风险的益处。“虽然追逐市场热点”不是个好主意,但可以将债券收益率水平出现上行的时机看成是个加仓长久期债券的好机会。我们继续建议在当前的市场环境中应考虑采用杠铃式和阶梯式债券投资策略;

  • Stay diversified. When markets become volatile, the benefits of diversification become more visible. Fixed income securities, particularly U.S. Treasuries, historically have provided a good counterbalance against a decline in stock prices. Don’t just focus on nominal performance—pay attention to risk-adjusted returns.

    多元化投资。市场行情越波动,多元化投资的好处就变得愈加明显。固定收益类的证券,尤其是美国国债,在历史上很好地起到对冲股价下跌的作用,不要只将目光放在名义回报率上面,而是要多关注对风险进行调整后的回报率。

Treasuries historically have provided the best “hedge” against a decline in stock prices.

美国国债在历史上是对冲股市下跌风险的最佳资产

Note: Correlation is a statistical measure of how two investment have historically moved in relation to each other, and ranges from -1 to +1. A correlation of 1 indicates a perfect positive correlation, while a correlation of -1 indicates a perfect negative correlation. Correlations shown represent an equal-weighted average of the correlations of each asset class with the S&P 500® index during the five-year period between August 2014 and August 2019. Source: Bloomberg, using weekly total returns data as of 8/16/2019. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

* Term Premium: A Brief Review

名词解1:期限溢价

The term premium is the extra yield investors demand to tie up their moneyfor a long time period versus just holding short-term investments. Tounderstand it, start with the equation that describes how bond yields aredetermined: Bond yields = the weighted average of short-term interestrates + a term premium.

‍期限溢价是指投资者在将资金长期锁定而不是只持有短期投资的情况下要求额外给予补偿的利差。为了搞清楚这个概念,先从一个阐述了债券收益率是如何产生的等式开始,债券收益率=一系列短期利率加权平均后的水平+期限溢价。

As an example, an investor with a 10-year time horizon can buy either a10-year bond or a series of short-term bonds over the course of 10 years. Inother words, you have a choice of rolling over T-bills for a decade, or justbuying the 10-year note.

举个例子,某投资者的投资期为10年,他可以要么买一只10年期的债券,要么在10年的投资期内买一系列短期债券;换句话说,投资者有两个选择,一是买短期债券,比如1年期债券,在十年的投资期内连续十次滚动买入1年期债券,二是干脆就买一只十年期的债券。

To decide which is better, you can look at what the market expectsshort-term interest rates to do over the next 10 years, and compare that to thecurrent yield on the 10-year note. (The expected path of short-term rates isfound in the “forward curve”). Normally, the yield of the 10-year note will behigher than the weighted average of what the market is pricing into the path ofshort-term rates. That’s because there is a risk that the path of short-termrates will diverge from what’s priced into market expectations.

为了搞清楚哪个做法更好,需要看市场对未来十年里短期利率的水平是如何预测的,并与10年期债券当前的收益率水平进行比较。在正常情况下,10年期债券的收益率将高于市场预测的短期利率的一系列远期利率的加权平均后的结果,这是因为未来的短期利率的走向有可能与市场当前预测的情况不同。

Consequently, most investors will demand ahigher yield to compensate for the chance that short-term rates will move upfaster than what is priced into the market. Historically, when there is adivergence between the forward curve and the actual path of short-term rates,it has usually been due to inflation rising faster than anticipated, leading tohigher short-term rates. If the risk premium isn’t big enough, the investor whochose bonds instead of rolling over T-bills will have underperformed. Soinflation expectations play an important role in the term premium. Otherfactors do as well—prospects for supply and demand based on demographics andinvestor preferences.

因此,大多数投资者会要求获得较高的收益率作为补偿以防短期利率的升幅有可能超过当前市场预期的水平。在历史上,当短期利率的实际走向与远期利率曲线不一致的时候,通常是由于通胀增速超过先前的预期导致短期利率的水平走高。如果风险溢价的程度不够高,选择滚动投资短期债券的投资者所获得的收益将跑输一次性投资长期债券的收益。因此通胀预期在期限溢价水平的定价方面扮演了非常重要的作用,其他的定价因素也在发挥作用,比如对基于人口结构变化和投资偏好的供求关系所做的预期。

 The velocity of money is the number of times one dollar is spent tobuy goods and services per unit of time. If the velocity of money isincreasing, then more transactions are occurring between individuals in aneconomy.

名词解释2:货币流通速度指的是一个美元在单位时间内购买商品和服务的次数。如果货币流通的速度加快,那么参与经济活动的人与人之间交易的次数就会增加。

译者  王为

By Kathy A Jones

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