跳出“资本外逃”之争看净误差与遗漏

发布:2017-09-30 14:14 来源: 《中国外汇》2017年第15期 作者:管涛
我国国际收支平衡表中的“净误差与遗漏”长期为负且规模较大的问题,再次引起了市场热议。
我国国际收支平衡表中的“净误差与遗漏”长期为负且规模较大的问题,再次引起了市场热议。有观点认为,这反映了中国存在较为严重的资本外逃现象,因此不能简单地将近年来国家外汇储备的减少理解为“藏汇于民”。然而,争议净误差与遗漏是不是资本外逃,其实际政策意义不大,更重要的工作应该是降低净误差与遗漏占比,提高国际收支的统计质量,更好地为宏观决策和市场分析服务。
The "net errors and omissions" in China's balance of payments data have long exhibited two traits - being large and largely negative. In the past this has often been interpreted as a sign of a serious problem with capital flight. Now,it is attracting market attention once again. Some economists downplay the significance of a reduction in the nation's official foreign exchange reserves in recent years,insisting it is the result of "foreign exchange now held by the people." However,the argument over whether net errors and omissions reflect capital flight has little practical significance. It is more important to reduce the ratio of net errors and omissions and improve the quality of statistics on the balance of payments in order to better serve the market analysis and macroeconomic decision-making ability of the nation's policy makers.
 
各国国际收支平衡表中都设有“净误差与遗漏”项目。根据国际标准,国际收支平衡表采用复式记账原则编制。为使平衡表在借贷两个方向上始终能够保持平衡,平衡表中设置了“净误差与遗漏”项。但是,“净误差与遗漏”项目是轧差出来的,不是统计出来的,只是国际收支平衡表的平衡项目。
Over an extended period,there is a correlation between capital flight and negative net errors and omissions. Every country deals with net errors and omissions items in its balance of payments data,and in accordance with global standards,the international balance of payments is prepared using the principles of double entry bookkeeping. In order to strike a balance in the balance sheet in both directions of debits and credits,the net errors and omissions item is set in the balance sheet. However,net errors and omissions are not calculated from statistics. They are merely a category used to reach a balance in international payments and receipts.
 
净误差与遗漏既可能是由于统计原因产生的,也可能是由于经济原因导致的。就前者(统计原因)而言,我国国际收支平衡表的编制是以国际收支统计申报数据为基础的,并综合利用了海关、商务部、人民银行、旅游局等其他相关数据。由于来自多个部门和不同统计系统的数据与国际收支统计在概念、口径、记录原则上不尽相同,再加上各部门的数据难以对所有交易进行全面记录,因此,在将这些数据汇总至国际收支平衡表中时就可能会形成误差与遗漏。就后者(经济原因)而言,净误差与遗漏则可能反映了未被记录到的跨境资本流动,俗称“热钱流入”或者“资本外逃”。
Net errors and omissions may be due either to statistical or economic factors. China’s balance of payments figures are based on statistical data from the Customs Administration,the Ministry of Commerce,the People's Bank of China,the Tourism Bureau and other departments. The data from these diverse arms of the government are compiled from different statistical systems which differ in terms of concept,scope,dimension and recording principles. It is difficult to record all transactions in each sector. Therefore,when the data are aggregated,there may be errors and omissions. As for economic factors,net errors and omissions may reflect unrecognized cross-border capital flows,commonly known as "hot money inflows" or "capital flight."
 
理论上讲,如果净误差与遗漏主要是由统计原因所致,那么其方向应该是时正时负的随机分布。如美国国际收支平衡表中高频的季度净误差与遗漏数值通常较大,但低频的年度数值通常较小。因为在一年四季中,其数值有正有负,全年轧差后净值就会大为缩小。例如,2000年,美国各季的净误差与遗漏与国际收支口径的货物贸易进出口总额之比分别为+12.7%、-8.1%、-10.4%和-6.7%,但年度之比却为-3.3%;2005年,季度比例分别为+10.8%、+15.1%、-7.6%和-12.0%,年度之比却为+1.2%。2000年一季度至2016年四季度的68个季度中,美国有40 个季度上述比例超出正负5%,但在2000—2016年的17年间,美国只有一年该比例超出5%。
Theoretically speaking,if the net errors and omissions are mainly due to statistical factors,there should be a stochastic distribution of negative and positive tallies. The quarterly net errors and omissions in the balance of payments statistics of the United States are usually larger than China's,but the annual frequency is smaller due to frequent shifts from positive to negative over the year. For example,in 2000 the ratio of the US net errors and omissions to the total value of US imports and exports was +12.7% in the first quarter,- 8.1% in the second,- 10.4% in the third and -6.7% in the fourth,but the annual ratio was  - 3. 3%. In 2005 the quarterly ratios were +10.8%,+15.1%,- 7.6% and -12.0%,but the annual figure was + 1.2%. Of 68 quarters from the first quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter of 2016,there were 40 quarters with ratios exceeding + 5% or -5% in the US. But in the 17 years from 2000 to 2016,there was only one year where the ratio exceeded 5%,and that was + 5.8% in 2009.
 
如果净误差与遗漏数值长期为正或者为负,则可能反映了未被记录的热钱流入或者资本外逃问题较为突出。据此对2009年以来我国国际收支平衡表中的“净误差与遗漏”年度数值一直为负(2002—2008年则连续为正)的情况进行判断,就有理由怀疑有些资本外流未被统计,进而被贴上“资本外逃”的标签。特别是2015年和2016年,其各季数值持续为负,更高度疑似。2015年,我国各季的净误差与遗漏与货物贸易进出口总额之比分别为-7.5%、-1.4%、-9.5%和-5.0%,年度之比为-4.9%;2016年,各季比例分别为-5.6%、-5.5%、-8.2%和-6.0%,年度之比为-5.4%。
If the net errors and omissions remain positive or negative for a prolonged period,it may reflect a serious problem of unrecorded hot money inflows or capital flight. Judging from the fact that since 2009 the annual value of the net errors and omissions in China's international payments position has been negative (the category was continuously positive between 2002 and 2008),there is reason to suspect that some capital outflows were not recorded and these were then labeled as "capital flight." In 2015 and in 2016,every quarter showed a negative value and this looked particularly suspicious. In 2015,the ratio of net errors and omissions to the total of imports and exports was -7.5% in the first quarter,- 1.4% in the second,- 9.5% in the third and -5.0% in the fourth,with an annual ratio of - 4.9%. In 2016,the quarterly ratios were -5.6%,- 5.5%,- 8.2% and -6.0% respectively,with an annual ratio of -5.4%.
 
将净误差与遗漏等同于资本外逃,肯定可以从统计或者经济的角度找到很多理由予以反驳(详见国家外汇管理局国际收支分析小组《2014年中国国际收支报告》“专栏1:净误差与遗漏负值≠资本外逃规模”);同时,“净误差与遗漏”中,究竟多少应该归为统计原因,多少应该归为经济原因,在经济原因中,又有多少应该归为经常项目收入高估原因,多少应该归为资本流出低估原因,也并无统一的量化标准,使资本外逃成了一个公说公有理、婆说婆有理的“黑箱”。更为关键的是,这种争论大多有学术意义,而缺乏实操价值。
Whether negative net errors and omissions reflect capital flight does not affect policy judgments and responses. There are many who argue that based on either statistical data or economic analysis,net errors and omissions should not be equated with capital flight. At the same time,it is difficult to say which components of the net errors and omissions should be attributed to statistical reasons as opposed to economic reasons. Looking at economic reasons,it is difficult to say how many should be attributed to the overestimation of the earnings on the current account or be attributed to the underestimation of capital outflows. The lack of a uniform standard makes it hard to give any justifiable explanation for capital flight. This is of some academic significance though it lacks practical value.
 
一是无论净误差与遗漏为负是不是资本外逃,都不能改变近年来我国资本外流状况一度较为严峻的客观现实。其实,判断一国资本外流情况,只需将国际收支平衡表中的非储备性质的资本与金融账户(简称“资本项目”)差额同净误差与遗漏额相加即可。据此,我们可以清楚地看到,2015年,我国经常项目顺差3042亿美元,资本项目逆差(含净误差与遗漏)6471亿美元,由于资本外流超出了经常项目盈余,外汇储备资产减少了3423亿美元;2016年,经常项目顺差1964亿美元,减少了35%,资本项目逆差6400亿美元,与上年基本持平,外汇储备资产减少4487亿美元,较上年多减了31%。 这时,如果想同时实现保汇率和保储备目标,加强跨境资本流动管理就成为必然的政策选择,至于“净误差与遗漏”是不是资本外逃并不重要。
First,regardless of whether the negative net errors and omissions reflect capital flight,it is undeniable that China's capital outflow situation has been severe in recent years. To calculate total capital outflows,add the difference between the non-reserve capital and the financial account in the balance of payments to the net errors and omissions. In 2015,China's current account surplus reached US$304.4 billion and the deficit on the capital account (including net errors and omissions) reached US$647.1 billion. Due to the fact that the capital outflows surpassed the surplus on the current account,the nation's foreign exchange reserves decreased by US$342.3 billion. In 2016,the surplus on the current account reached US$196.4 billion,down 35% from the previous year. The deficit on the capital account was US$640 billion,which was basically flat with the previous year. Foreign exchange reserve assets decreased by US$448.7 billion US dollars,or 31% from the previous year. If authorities want to achieve the targets of maintaining the exchange rate and the foreign exchange reserves,they need to strengthen cross-border capital flow management. Therefore,whether "net errors and omissions" reflect capital flight is not important.
 
二是无论净误差与遗漏是不是资本外逃,必须对短期资本流动冲击风险采取果断措施已毋庸置疑。理论上,通常将净误差与遗漏同国际收支平衡表中的证券投资和其他投资都归入短期资本流动(又称非直接投资形式的资本流动)。据此测算,从2014年起,我国短期资本持续净流出,它与基础国际收支顺差(即经常项目与直接投资顺差之和)之比,2014年为-69%,2015年为-192%,2016年为-396%。无疑,短期资本流动已成为导致前期我国储备下降、汇率下跌的主要原因。而短期资本流动主要受情绪驱使,往往会偏离经济基本面,特别在市场普遍看空的情绪下,多重均衡容易导致坏的结果。因此,正是在加强跨境资本流动管理,抑制资本集中流出的同时,改进了汇率调控,提高了汇率政策的公信力,才取得了2017年上半年汇率维稳工作的超预期成功。
Second,regardless of whether net errors and omissions reflect capital flight,measures need to be taken to prevent risks from short-term capital flows. In theory,this usually classifies net errors and omissions and the securities investments of the international balance of payments along with other investments as short-term capital flows (also known as capital flows in the form of non-direct investment). According to this calculation,from 2014 onwards,China's short-term capital continued in the form of net outflow,and its ratio to the surplus of the basic balance of payments (that is,the sum of the current account and direct investment surplus) in 2014 was - 69%,followed by -192% in 2015 and -396% in 2016. Undoubtedly,the short-term capital flows have become the main reason for the decline in China’s foreign exchange reserves and the decline in the exchange rate. Short-term capital flows are mainly driven by emotions,and they tend to disregard economic fundamentals. Therefore,it is in the strengthening of cross-border capital flow management and the curbing of concentrated capital outflows that we can improve control over the exchange rate and buttress the credibility of exchange rate policy. This was responsible for the unexpected success in maintaining a steady exchange rate in the first half of 2017.
 
三是试图管理“净误差与遗漏”项下不可知的资本外逃,难免无处着力;而针对可监测和可监管的交易实施管理,则可达事半功倍的效果。2013年年初,通过虚构内地与香港之间的转口贸易进行套利套汇行为盛行,引发了海关、商务、外汇等部门的联合行动、协同监管,及时遏制了由此渠道的热钱流入。当年的净误差与遗漏仍为负值629亿美元。2016年,由于对外直接投资异常增长,长期资本流动呈现短期化趋势,使得国际收支口径的直接投资由顺差转为逆差,导致当年在短期资本净流出减少17%的情况下,基础国际收支顺差减少60%,以致外汇储备资产降幅扩大。2016年年底开始规范国内企业“走出去”行为,2017年上半年,国际收支口径的对外直接投资净流出即同比减少67%,跨境直接投资也由逆差重新转为顺差。同期,经常项目顺差同比下降35%,基础国际收支顺差增长40%,短期资本流动差额与基础国际收支顺差之比由-359%降至-66%。这是2017年上半年剔除估值效应后外汇储备资产变动由负转正的主要原因。我国防范跨境资本流动冲击取得了超预期的成功。另外,只关注净误差与遗漏而忽视披着合法外衣、记录在经常或资本项下的资本外逃(如跨国公司通过内部定价转移利润的做法),显然也是顾此失彼。
Third,managing an unknown quantity of capital flight under "net errors and omissions" is often ineffective. However,there can be surprising successes in supervising transactions which can be monitored and managed. In early 2013,there were significant distortions in transshipments through Hong Kong,and this prompted a coordinated response from Customs,the Commerce Ministry and foreign exchange authorities to stem an inflow of hot money. The net errors and omissions that year were a negative US$62.9 billion. In 2016,there was an abnormal growth of foreign direct investment and a change in long-term capital flows,and this turned a surplus of direct investment in the balance of payments into a deficit. There was a 17% reduction in short-term net capital outflows,and the surplus on the basic international earnings and expenditures was reduced by 60%,resulting in the expansion of foreign exchange reserve assets. In late 2016,authorities began to tighten their grip on the offshore investment activities of domestic enterprises. In the first half of 2017,the net foreign investment outflow of the international earnings and expenditures fell by 67% compared to the same period last year,and cross-border direct investment swung from deficit to surplus. In the same period,the current account surplus fell 35% compared to last year,and the surplus of the basic balance of payments increased by 40%. The ratio of short-term capital flow differences to the surplus on the basic international balance of payments decreased from -359% to -66%. This is the main reason for the changes in foreign exchange reserves turning from negative to positive when adjusting for currency valuation effects. China's efforts to prevent cross-border capital flows have achieved a better-than-expected success. In addition,it is a losing battle if authorities only cling to the net errors and omissions calculation while ignoring capital flight under the current or capital account,such as multinational companies moving profits offshore through transfer pricing.
 
四是贴上“资本外逃”的标签,实际是对资本外流做出了主观的道德判断,恐难取得共识。站在不同的立场,对资本流出究竟是好的资本外流还是坏的资本外流,结论通常不同。而且,现在净误差与遗漏为负问题重入公众视野,很大程度与市场情绪有关。如前所述,这种情况早在2009年就开始出现,但在2013年之前,对此问题的关注度一直不太高。当前,只不过是在看空人民币的情绪下,大家又将这个问题当作一个负面新闻来炒作罢了(亚洲金融危机时期发生过类似的情况)。与此类似,前些年人民币汇率面临单边升值压力时,大家炒作的焦点则是热钱流入。
Fourth,the label of "capital flight" is a subjective moral judgment of capital outflow,and this makes it difficult to reach a consensus. It also results in different,subjective conclusions about whether such capital outflows are good or bad. Moreover,the fact that the negative net errors and omissions are emerging into public view has a lot to do with market sentiment. As mentioned earlier,such a situation appeared as early as in 2009,but very little attention was paid to this issue before 2013. When the view towards the yuan is bearish,the public focuses on errors and omissions. Likewise,only a few years ago,when the yuan was under steady appreciation pressure,the public speculation focused on hot money inflows.
 
作者系中国金融四十人论坛高级研究员
The author is a senior researcher at the China Finance 40 Forum
 
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