每日新闻更新 — 美联储的平衡法案 The Daily Update – The Fed’s Balancing Act

由于普遍预计美联储在周三举行的为期两天的会议结束时会将利率进一步上调25个基点,人们很容易认为这件事情有点炒作过度。不过,正如我们最少从去年以来所做的综述那样,要紧的不仅仅是利率,美联储的资产负债表的大小也是一个重要的因素。我们是否能够从这次会议中对这一方面得到一定的澄清还有待于观察,但是我们会密切关注此事;原因是这样的。

量化宽松是在给市场提供现金的同时通过购买债券来实现的。这导致美联储资产负债表从2008年的9000亿美元左右飙升至4.5万亿美元左右的高峰。量化宽松政策的逆转 — 量化紧缩政策(简称 QT)— 逆转了这个过程,但问题是,美联储不去出售债券,而是允许部分债券自然到期。     

就像量化宽松是一种为市场提供一定‘数量’的流动性而不是针对特定利率的决定一样,量化紧缩实际上也是同样性质的决定,只不过是方向相反而已。因此,虽然当利率为零时提供更多的流动性很容易,但为联邦基金设定一个目标同时又要减少资产负债表则更具挑战性。因此,美联储成员之间的辩论的议题之一就是资产负债表本身的管理及其规模。

在二月份的时候,法国外贸银行(Natixis)的首席美国经济学家约瑟夫·拉沃格纳(Joseph Lavorgna)在为 CNBC(美国全国广播公司财经频道)撰写的一篇文章中提出,将美联储的上限利率设定为2%,然后根据具体的经济条件利用资产负债表的规模来管理提供给市场的流动性。这突出了在设定利率和更改资产负债表之间的选择。

当然,反过来也是可能的,修正资产负债表,然后允许利率波动。根据美联储的一项研究,量化宽松政策将长期利率降低了120个基点,所以如果资产负债表没有完全被扭转,那么长期利率将在结构上低于以前的水平。因此,美联储资产负债表的最终规模可能远远高于原来所预料的,如果有迹象表明这种情况会发生的话,对于国债和投资级债券持有者来说都将被认为是一个非常积极的信号。

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