「中英」日股涨幅领跑全球,投资者为何对日本经济信心大增

日本日经225指数是今年全球表现最好的主要股指。 Richard A. Brooks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, stood in front of the cameras in 2014 and said he was going to shake up the staid ways companies operated in Japan. It was a tall order. Shellshocked by years of economic malaise that followed the bubble of the 1980s, Japanese executives had clung to the status quo for years. Raises for employees and returns for shareholders were scarce. The consequence was an economy that barely grew.
2014年,日本首相安倍晋三站在镜头前表示,他将改变日本公司的僵化经营方式。这是一项艰巨的任务。日本高管对1980年代泡沫之后的多年经济萎靡不振心有余悸,多年来一直墨守成规。员工加薪和股东回报很少。导致经济几乎没有增长。
Now, there are signs of a significant shift in how the country’s corporations are run, changes that are helping to breathe life into the economy. In recent months, Canon shareholders have demanded a diverse board of directors, Citizen Watch has said it would buy back up to a quarter of its shares, and the owner of Uniqlo has promised its workers raises of up to 40 percent. The Tokyo Stock Exchange has implored companies to be “conscious” of their share prices.
现在,有迹象表明企业的运营方式发生了重大转变,有助于为经济注入活力。近几个月来,佳能股东要求董事会成员多元化,西铁城手表称将回购至多四分之一的股份,优衣库的所有者承诺为其员工加薪最多达40%。东京证券交易所已恳请公司“注意”其股价
Mix in a surprisingly solid economy this year, a weak currency, ultralow interest rates — while many of the world’s biggest economies are raising them — and a plug from Warren E. Buffett and you have the world’s best performing major stock market.
再加上今年出人意料的稳健经济、疲软的货币、超低的利率——而世界上许多最大的经济体都在提高利率——再加上沃伦·E·巴菲特的助力造就了世界上表现最好的主要股市。
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index has jumped nearly 30 percent this year, far outstripping the gains for the S&P 500, the benchmark in the United States. The Nikkei has not been this high since the early 1990s, when Japan was slumping into what is known as the Lost Decade.
日本的日经225指数今年上涨了近30%,远远超过美国基准标准普尔500指数的涨幅。这是日经指数自日本在1990年代初期陷入所谓的“失去的十年”以来的最高点。
Some observers are quick to warn that investors have been burned in the past by being overly optimistic about a change in boardroom attitudes in Japan. But company profits are improving, and Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, is basking in a postpandemic glow: Inflation has finally returned, consumer spending is rising and foreign tourists are back.
一些观察家很快警告说,投资者曾经对日本董事会态度转变过于乐观而受到伤害。但公司利润正在改善,世界第三大经济体日本正沐浴在大流行后的阳光中:通货膨胀终于再现,消费者支出正在上升,外国游客回来了。
“The fundamental economic conditions in Japan, including corporate earnings, are better than in the U.S., Europe and China,” said Yuichi Murao, a top executive at Nomura Asset Management in Tokyo. “In terms of G.D.P. growth, Japan is going to outperform.”
“日本的基本经济状况,包括企业盈利,都好于美国、欧洲和中国,”东京野村资产管理的高管村尾祐一表示。“就GDP增长而言,日本将超越其他国家。”
The increase in Japan’s gross domestic product for the first three months of the year was revised sharply up last week, to an annual rate of 2.7 percent from an initial reading of 1.6 percent. The overall picture remains mixed because the bump that came from more spending by companies was geared more to restocking the shelves and warehouses, not demand from customers. Private consumption, a gauge of how much people are spending, weakened slightly.
日本今年前三个月的国内生产总值增幅上周大幅上调,年率从最初的1.6%上调至2.7%。整体情况仍然喜忧参半,公司支出增加带来了增长,但这些支出更多地是为了补充货架和仓库库存,而不是来自消费者的需求。衡量人们支出多少的个人消费略有减弱。

海外游客涌入日本,国内消费需求也呈现强势。 Philip Fong/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Still, domestic demand remains strong, Mr. Murao said. Expectations are high that it will rise further, along the lines of the so-called revenge spending that other countries saw after their lockdowns ended. Japan was among the last countries to lift restrictions, and while the number of tourists is still much lower than what it was before 2020, overseas visitors are streaming in.
村尾说,国内需求仍然强劲。人们普遍期望它会进一步上升,就像其他国家在封锁结束后看到的所谓报复性支出一样。日本是最后取消新冠限制的国家之一,虽然游客人数仍远低于2020年之前的水平,但海外游客正在涌入。
“They are spending much more money than before,” partly because of the weak yen, Mr. Murao said. The yen has fallen to the lowest level since the 1990s against the U.S. dollar.
“他们花的钱比以前多了,”村尾说,部分原因是日元疲软。日元兑美元汇率已跌至1990年代以来的最低水平。
Japan has also made strides against two perennial problems, with wages and inflation improving in recent months. Consumer prices, excluding fresh food, rose 3.4 percent in April, the highest level in decades. Rising inflation is more welcome in Japan than it is in the United States and Europe because it has been mired at such low levels for so long, and the Japanese central bank has indicated it will stick with monetary easing.
日本在两个长期存在的问题方面也取得了长足进步,最近几个月工资和通货膨胀有所改善。不包括生鲜食品的消费者价格在4月上涨3.4%,为数十年来的最高水平。由于日本的通胀长期处于极低水平,相比在美国和欧洲,日本更乐于见到通胀,日本央行已表示将坚持货币宽松政策。
But the inflation has largely been driven by postpandemic supply shortages, said Chong Hoon Park, the head of economic research for Japan and South Korea at Standard Chartered Bank in Seoul. “It’s not driven by wage growth,” Mr. Park said, adding he expects inflation to drop next year below the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent target.
但渣打银行驻首尔的日本和韩国经济研究主管朴崇勋表示,通胀主要是由大流行后供应短缺推动的。朴崇勋说:“这不是由工资增长推动的。”他还表示预计明年通胀率将降至日本央行2%的目标以下。
The challenge is to sustain and broaden the increase in incomes that segments of the economy have witnessed recently. A survey by a business group found that large companies agreed to raise salaries an average of 3.9 percent this year, the highest rate in decades.
目前面临的挑战是维持一些经济部门最近出现的收入增长,并将范围扩大。一个商业团体的一项调查发现,大公司同意今年平均加薪3.9%,这是几十年来的最高水平。
The government is focused on raising wages and making it easier for workers to switch jobs in pursuit of higher pay. Last week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida repeated that his economic priorities included “structural wage increases and labor market reform.”
政府的重点是提高工资,并使追求更高工资的雇员更容易换工作。上周,首相岸田文雄重申,他的经济优先事项包括“结构性工资增长和劳动力市场改革”。
Another leader in pushing for a change in corporate thinking is the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In March, the exchange laid out a plan that would force companies trading below their book value to increase their stock prices. Some of the easiest ways to do so is to pay bigger dividends and buy back more stock. While it’s unclear when the exchange will start the policy, behemoths like Toyota and Honda, which has said it plans to buy back stock this year, are likely to have to make changes. (Toyota shares are up 27 percent and Honda’s 50 percent this year.)
推动企业思维转变的另一个领导者是东京证券交易所。今年3月,该交易所制定了一项计划,将迫使交易价格低于账面价值的公司提高股价。一些最简单的方法是支付更多的股息和回购更多的股票。虽然尚不清楚交易所何时开始实施该政策,但丰田和本田等巨头可能不得不做出改变,两家公司已经表示计划今年回购股票。(今年丰田股价上涨27%,本田股价上涨50%。)

用于展示的佳能镜头。佳能股东因董事会缺乏性别多元化而斥责公司总裁,差点把他赶出了董事会。 Philip Fong/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Nikkei 225 index rose 1.5 percent on Wednesday to 33,502, a new high for the year.
日经225指数周三上涨1.5%至33502点,创下年内新高。
The shift to get companies to pay more attention to profits and stock prices has been evident to Seth Fischer, a hedge fund manager who has publicly agitated for change at Japanese companies for more than a decade, perhaps most memorably by urging Nintendo to get its games on mobile phones.
对于对冲基金经理赛斯·菲舍尔来说,让公司更加关注利润和股价的转变十分明显,他十多年来一直在奋力呼吁日本公司变革,也许令人最印象深刻的是敦促任天堂将其游戏移植到手机上。
“We see dramatic changes in senior executives’ behavior,” Mr. Fischer, the founder of Oasis Capital, said from Hong Kong.
“我们看到高管的行为发生了巨大变化,”绿洲资本创始人菲舍尔在香港说。
One example Mr. Fischer points to is Canon, the camera and optical equipment company. Shareholders reprimanded its chairman and chief executive, nearly ousting him from the board, for a lack of gender diversity among directors. And the continuous prodding to invest more of the money they hold in reserve has led to Japanese corporations to announce a record $70 billion in buybacks in the year that ended in March, according to the Nikkei newspaper. Dividends for the current year are likely to hit another record, topping $100 billion. All of these moves combine to put money into the real economy.
菲舍尔举的一个例子是相机和光学设备公司佳能。股东谴责其董事长兼首席执行官,差点将他赶出董事会,原因是董事会缺乏性别多样性。据日经新闻报道,由于不断敦促将更多储备资金用于投资,日本企业宣布在截至3月的一年中进行了创纪录的700亿美元回购。今年的股息可能会再创新高,超过1000亿美元。所有这些举措结合在一起将资金投入实体经济。
Then there is the endorsement from Mr. Buffett, who said recently that he had increased his holdings in the Japanese conglomerates Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo. In April, he told Nikkei that he planned to invest more in Japanese companies. Foreign investors have poured money into Japanese stocks since then, some shying away from China as tensions between Beijing and Washington rise.
然后是巴菲特的背书,他最近表示,他增持了日本企业集团伊藤忠商事、丸红、三菱、三井和住友的股份。4月,他告诉日经新闻,他计划对日本公司进行更多投资。自那以后,外国投资者纷纷将资金投入日本股市,随着北京和华盛顿之间的紧张局势加剧,一些投资者回避了对中国投资。
Mr. Fischer is among the bullish. And as companies take actions to improve their value, he said, they will help the overall economy of Japan by increasing incomes.
菲舍尔是看涨者之一。他说,随着公司采取行动提高其价值,他们将通过增加收入来帮助日本的整体经济。
“Investors have finally gotten notice that there is a sea change opportunity in Japan,” he said.
“投资者终于注意到日本有一个产生巨变的机会,”他说。

Vivek Shankar是时报国际版面高级编辑。此前他供职于彭博新闻社,曾驻旧金山、悉尼和华盛顿。欢迎在Twitter上关注他:@vivshank

翻译:明斋

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