https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2021/06/24/three-corporate-giants-are-posing-a-stiff-test-for-chinese-banks

Brace, brace
准备抵御冲击

Three corporate giants are posing a stiff test for Chinese banks

三大企业巨头对中国银行业构成严峻考验

NOT LONG ago the conventional wisdom was that China would do whatever it took to save its biggest companies from failing. Times have changed. Three corporate giants—Evergrande, the country’s biggest property developer; Huarong, its biggest investor in bad bank assets; and Suning, a retail giant—are all suffering from financial distress.

不久前人们还普遍认为中国会不惜一切挽救它最大的企业,不让它们倒下。此一时,彼一时。中国最大的房地产开发商恒大、最大的银行不良资产投资者华融、零售巨头苏宁这三家巨头企业目前都深陷财务困境。

The three firms’long rush to expand has collided with slower growth, tighter credit and stricter regulatory scrutiny. Their bonds are trading at discounts of roughly 25% to face value, showing that investors have priced in a significant chance that they will default.

这三家公司长期以来极力扩张,但遭遇了增长放缓、信贷收紧和更严格的监管审查。它们的债券以相当于面值约 25% 的折扣交易,这表明投资者已经预期它们违约的可能性很大。

People in the financial industry are debating whether the government really will let them fail. An analyst with a large asset manager that holds Huarong bonds says his firm believes the state will eventually rescue the“bad bank”,given how integral it is to cleaning up non-performing loans in the financial system. A former adviser to the central bank says that Evergrande and Suning may be more expendable, posing fewer systemic dangers.

金融业人士正在争论政府是否真的会任由它们倒下。某家持有华融债券的大型资产管理公司的一名分析师说,他所在的公司相信国家最终会挽救华融这家「坏账银行」,毕竟它在清理金融系统中的不良贷款方面不可或缺。一位前央行顾问表示,恒大和苏宁或许是更可舍弃的,因为它们构成的系统性风险更小。

In the first instance, the troubles of these firms are a reflection of their own mismanagement. Evergrande has more debt than any other listed Chinese company. Huarong had a chairman who was executed for bribery. Suning sprayed cash around with abandon, buying trophy assets such as Inter Milan, the football club.

首先来说,这些公司的麻烦反映了它们自身管理不善。恒大的债务比哪家中国上市公司都要多。华融的一名董事长因受贿被执行死刑。苏宁肆意挥霍现金,购买足球俱乐部国际米兰等华而不实的资产。

But the government’s willingness to let them go to the brink also points to something else: its confidence that the banking sector is now solid enough to cope with a big bout of turbulence. That was not always the case. In 2015 Chinese banks were struck by a near-crisis when more than $1 trn in cash rushed out of the country and corporate defaults rose. Several banks eventually needed bail-outs.

但是,政府愿意任由它们走向崩溃边缘也说明了另一件事:它相信银行部门现在已经足够稳固,可以应对一场大的动荡。情况并非一向如此。2015 年,逾一万亿美元现金流出中国,企业违约率上升,中国银行业由此遭遇了一场近乎危机的冲击。最终有几家银行需要纾困。

Many investors still see them as being in a weakened position. With few exceptions, Chinese banks listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange trade far below their reported asset values, implying a high degree of pessimism about their prospects. The root problem is their ultra-rapid credit issuance of the past 15 years, when their loan books grew ninefold, nearly twice as fast as the overall economy.

许多投资者仍然认为它们元气大伤。除了极少数个例以外,在香港交易所上市的中资银行的交易远低于其公布的资产价值,这意味着投资者对它们的前景高度悲观。根本问题是它们在过去 15 年里超高速发放信贷,期间贷款账目增长了九倍,几乎是整体经济增速的两倍。

Yet any fair assessment of China’s banks must grapple with changes that have made them safer. Regulators have unwound some of their off-balance-sheet chicanery, exemplified by a curtailment of their loans to other financial firms. Such loans, which make it hard to know where risk resides, had soared to 78% of GDP by the end of 2016. Today they are down to about 54%.

然而,要对中国银行业做出公正的评估,就必须设法了解那些已经让它们变得更安全的变化。监管机构已经破除了它们的一些表外欺诈行为,比如限制它们对其他金融公司放贷。这种贷款让人很难知道哪里暗藏风险,截至 2016 年底此类贷款已飙升至 GDP 的 78%。如今这一比例已降至 54% 左右。

Banks are also better prepared for bumps ahead. They had capital buffers equivalent to 14.7% of their assets at the end of 2020, a record high. Even as bad loans climbed to nearly 2% last year, the highest in more than a decade, banks made enough cash provisions to cover a near-doubling. The government also now requires the biggest banks to prepare resolution plans in case of trouble.

银行也做了更妥善的准备以应对前方颠簸。到 2020 年底,它们的资本缓冲水平相当于其资产的 14.7%,创历史新高。尽管去年不良贷款率攀升至近 2%,为 10 多年来的最高水平,但银行的准备金足够覆盖增加近一倍的不良贷款。政府现在还要求那些最大的银行预备好解决方案,以防出现问题。

These changes bring China more in line with global regulatory standards, albeit with a twist. In most countries the overriding goal is to avoid having to get the state to save reckless banks. In China, however, the state already owns majority stakes in most large banks.

这些变化让中国变得更加符合全球监管标准,尽管还是有一处不同。在大多数国家,压倒一切的目标是避免让政府出手拯救鲁莽行事的银行。然而在中国,政府已拥有大多数大型银行的多数股权。

“The question is, do you wipe out equity which is already public money and then put in fresh taxpayer money? Or do you avoid wiping out equity to begin with?”says Nicholas Zhu of Moody’s, a credit-rating agency. Regulators are, he says, taking a mixed approach, likely to support lower-yielding senior debt but not junior debt such as perpetual bonds.

「问题是,你是要把本来就已是公共资金的股权一笔勾销,然后再投入新的纳税人的钱,还是说你一开始就避免抹除股权?」信用评级机构穆迪的诸蜀宁说。他表示,监管机构正在采取一种混合的方式,很可能会支持收益率较低的优先债务,但不会支持永久债券之类的次级债务。

The weakest banks in China are almost entirely its smallest ones. They generally have dodgier assets, Less-professional management and thinner capital cushions. Rather than dealing with them one by one, regulators are working to bind them together. Mergers are under way in the provinces of Liaoning, Shanxi and Sichuan.“Consolidation is something we expect. It allows for higher requirements for corporate governance and risk control,”says Vivian Xue of Fitch, another credit-rating agency.

中国最弱的银行几乎全都是那些最小的银行。它们通常资产更不可靠、管理更不专业、资本缓冲更薄弱。监管机构没有选择逐一处理它们,而是在努力将它们捆绑在一起。辽宁、山西和四川的小银行正在合并。「我们乐于看到整合。这样就可以对公司治理和风险控制提出更高的要求。」另一家信用评级机构惠誉(Fitch)的薛慧如表示。

Perhaps the biggest concern about China’s banks today is not their recklessness but whether regulators are themselves creating new risks with a new set of lending rules. Worried about the property sector, they have told banks to cap their mortgages and other property lending to no more than 35% of their loan books. Meanwhile, regulators ordered banks last year to increase loans to smaller firms by between 30% and 40%.

或许,中国银行业如今最让人担忧的不是它们不顾后果,而是监管机构自己是否在用一套新的贷款规则制造新的风险。出于对房地产行业的担忧,监管机构已经要求银行将抵押贷款和其他房地产贷款的上限控制在不超过其贷款总额的 35%。与此同时,监管机构去年指示银行把对小企业的贷款增加 30% 至 40%。

“In the past regulators complained that banks all looked alike, and wanted them to serve different client bases,”says May Yan, an analyst with UBS, a bank.“Some of the recent regulations are making banks look the same.”Their income trends are already more similar. Take, for instance, the ten biggest banks in China. Virtually all posted profit growth of about 2% last year, with the least differentiation among their results on record.

「过去,监管机构抱怨银行看起来都一个样,希望它们能为不同的客户群服务,」瑞银(UBS)分析师颜湄之表示,「而近年的一些规定正让银行都变成一个样。」它们的收入趋势就已经变得越发相似了。以中国最大的十家银行为例,去年它们几乎全都公布了约 2% 的利润增长,是有记录以来利润增长差异最小的一次。

This trend suggests that the main risk for Chinese banks is a lack of diversification. Along with having similar lending profiles, their assets are overwhelmingly concentrated within China. Overseas loans now account for just 2% of their lending portfolios. All the loan-loss provisions, capital buffers and improved governance may make them safer. But ultimately the only measure that really matters is the health of the Chinese economy.

这一趋势表明,中国银行业的主要风险是不够多元化。除了贷款组合相似,它们的资产绝大多数都集中在中国国内,海外贷款目前只占其贷款组合的 2%。贷款损失准备金、资本缓冲和治理改善——种种这些可能会让它们变得更安全,但说到底,唯一真正重要的衡量标准是中国经济的健康状况

Published since September 1843 to take part in “a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.”

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我们应该学会去理解别人的观点,不仅仅是服从和被告知。

我们应该学会去理解别人的观点,不仅仅是服从和被告知。
我们应该学会去理解别人的观点,不仅仅是服从和被告知。
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