第1378号 1997年08月08日(金)

《 BOE statement changed the picture 》

 本日は夏休みバージョンということで、資料を中心にお届けします。今週の一番大きな為替の動きとしては、イングランド銀行の7.00%へのレポ・レート(the Bank's official dealing rate)の引き上げ。通常利上げは、当該通貨押し上げ圧力となります。しかし、今回は違った。利上げ発表後にポンドは急落。今朝のウォール・ストリート・ジャーナルには、

Traders said that, had it not been for the wording of the statement, sterling would have rallied, especially in light of Wednesday's sharp three-pfennig sell-off. Over the past two days, sterling has lost eight pfennigs and three and a half cents.
 と「声明」がポイントだったという見方が出ている。「ポンド高の打撃から経済を救うために、今回は利上げ見送りも」という観測が今週に入ってからのポンド安の背景でしたから、本来なら利上げがあったらポンドは上昇してもおかしくない。ましてや、ヘッジファンドは、
 "Big hedge funds had positioned themselves for a fifth and a sixth hike in British rates before the end of the year," said Mr. McCarthy.
 との予想だったからです。しかし、この事情はイングランド銀行が発表した「声明」ですべて変わった。今朝イングランド銀行のサイトから取った声明の全文は次の通りです。

7 August 1997

 

BANK OF ENGLAND RAISES INTEREST RATES BY 0.25% TO 7.00%

 

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee has today voted to raise the Bank's official dealing rate (the repo rate) by 0.25% to 7.00%. The increase takes immediate effect.

The Committee reviewed the latest monetary and economic data and discussed the analysis and inflation projection to be incorporated in the Bank's Inflation Report which will be published on 13 August. It recognised that the appreciation of the exchange rate over the past year is putting severe pressure on businesses exposed to international competition. Nevertheless, in the light of the prospect for domestic demand and on the basis of all the evidence currently available, the Committee judges that today's rise is necessary to put the economy on track for achieving the inflation target of 2% looking two years ahead. Although the present strength of sterling reflects in large part factors outside the influence of UK monetary policy, upward pressures on the exchange rate should be reduced by the perception that interest rates have reached a level consistent with the inflation target.

The previous change in interest rates was a rise of 0.25% on 10 July.

 

《 no rate increase for the time being in England》

 この声明を読んでまだポンドを買える人がいたとしたら、よほどレベルを決めていた人でしょう。この声明では、イングランド銀行が「ポンド高のイギリス経済に対する打撃、特に国際部門に対する打撃を強く懸念していること」「今回も利上げは見送りたかったものの、国内需要見通しなどから避けられない措置であったこと」「従って今回の利上げ後には、今以上に国内需要(消費)が上がらなければポンド高につながりかねない利上げを避けること」が明確に示されている。ヘッジファンドが予想していた5次、6次の利上げはないわけです。当面は。ケーブル(ポンド・ドル)は今週1.63ドル台がありましたが、今朝の同レートはT.58ドル台となっている。

 ――――――――――

 ポンドが高値から反落すると同時に、ドルも高値から反落した週でした。ドル・マルクでは1.90マルクを目前にして、またドル・円は120円を目前にして折り返して、今はドル・マルクが1.87マルク台、ドル・円が118円台にある。

 ドルを取り巻く環境は、全体としては極めて強い。何よりも、金利差が大きい。日本の景気が消費の減退や在庫の積み上がりを中心に腰折れ状態にあること、ドイツが失業率の増加などの国内経済に関する諸問題を抱えていることなどで、この金利差は当面続きそう。

 しかし、金利差だけでドルを買い続けるにはやや危険な領域に入ってきた印象がするのも確かです。これは既に何回か書いていますから繰り返しは避けますが。日本の黒字は引き続き拡大していて、ドイツも自国通貨安には警戒感を強めている。もっとも通貨当局も置かれている立場は複雑です。日本の当局としては、景気が弱いなら若干の円安も認めたい気持ちがあるでしょう。

 少なくとも短期的には自国通貨安は、景気に打撃にならない。ドイツとしても輸出が頼りという事情は変わらない。もしかしたら虫が良い話でしょうが、日本、ドイツ、アメリカとも現状程度で落ち着いて欲しいと思っているかも知れない。しかし、一度は高値トライがあるんだろうと思います。問題は、その時に市場のfollow throughがあるかどうか、当局がどう出るかです。

 

《 Beige Book 》

 今週のもう一つの大きな動きは、ニューヨーク債券相場の崩れでしょうか。しかし、以下のベージュブックのsummaryを読んでも、アメリカ経済が加熱している様子、インフレ率が上昇している様子は伺えない。

 Economic activity generally expanded at a moderate rate in many districts in June and July, although several reported that growth was more brisk. The tempo of consumer spending picked up since the last Beige Book report, aided in part by improved weather. Automobile sales, however, were slightly softer. Manufacturing remained at a high level or expanded further across most industries, particularly for nonautomotive durables. Most districts indicated that manufacturers' inventories remained at generally desirable levels. Commercial real estate activity strengthened across much of the country as vacancy rates declined further and rents rose. Home sales and construction increased modestly in recent weeks, but still lagged slightly below year-ago levels. Labor markets tightened further but only scattered wage pressures were noted. Prices for most goods were stable, although reports indicated that lumber and some agricultural prices rose. Recent rains in some districts brought relief to crops damaged by heat and sparse rainfall. Several districts indicated that commercial lending strengthened while reports on consumer lending were more mixed.

Consumer Spending
  Most districts reported stronger retail sales since the last report; only Kansas City had weaker activity. July's sales were noticeably stronger in New York, Richmond, and Minneapolis, with descriptions of sales ranging from "well above plan" to "vigorous." Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Francisco, however, reported more modest improvements. Dallas indicated that consumer expenditures were mixed across that district.
Some districts attributed a rebound in sales growth to the arrival of warmer weather. However, New York stated that increased sales were not limited to seasonal items. Minneapolis reported that sales had increased, in part because some consumers had to replace flood-damaged belongings. Apparel demand appeared stronger in many districts, with Boston, New York, and Chicago citing particular strength in sales of women's fashions. However, Cleveland characterized the demand for children's apparel as soft, and Boston had weak sales of men's clothing. Consumer purchases of big-ticket items increased in New York, Richmond, and Chicago. Chicago also noted that sales of some luxury items were up "noticeably" from a year ago, particularly of personal watercraft and all-terrain vehicles. In most districts, vehicle sales edged lower; sales of light trucks and sport utility vehicles continued to display considerable strength, but sales of domestic passenger cars softened.
Retail inventories were in line with sales across most districts. New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Chicago reported that retailers' inventories were on target. Kansas City said that retailers there had trimmed inventories and did not believe further reductions were necessary.

Manufacturing
 Many districts reported that there was further expansion in manufacturing activity. Production picked up in the Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, and Dallas districts, and continued at moderately high levels in the Richmond, Kansas City, and San Francisco districts. New York reported moderate growth in manufacturing, while Minneapolis noted that growth there was "solid, but not spectacular." Atlanta described growth as mixed. Production rose for aircraft and related products in the Boston district, but a shortage of skilled labor slowed aircraft production in the San Francisco district. Atlanta noted strength in shipbuilding. Chicago indicated that steel producers and manufacturers of heavy equipment continued to see increased production and strong orders. In the Cleveland district, however, demand for steel moderated, and in Philadelphia's district, primary metal producers faced slackening demand. Weaker demand for textiles reduced production in the Richmond and Philadelphia districts, while continued softness in apparel demand forced further plant closings in the Atlanta district. Furniture manufacturers in the Richmond district reported weaker product demand. The Philadelphia and Dallas districts noted greater demand for construction and building products.
Few inventory problems were noted. Philadelphia and Kansas City reported that stocks of manufactured goods had been trimmed slightly, and further reductions were anticipated by Kansas City. Inventories in the Cleveland district were only slightly higher than earlier in the year.

Labor Markets
 Labor markets strengthened during June and July. Boston, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco reported tight labor markets and shortages of skilled workers. Most manufacturers in the Boston district described the pool of available labor as adequate, but Chicago and San Francisco indicated that labor shortages had curbed production in those districts. Finding employees with adequate computer skills prompted some employment agencies in the Cleveland and Richmond districts to offer in-house training. Employees for entry-level and retail positions were increasingly difficult to find and retain in the Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City districts.
Despite the persistent labor market tightness, wage pressures remained generally subdued. Exceptions included Richmond, where retail wages surged in July, and Chicago and Kansas City, with intensifying wage pressures for low-paying, entry-level, and clerical positions. Minneapolis described increased wage pressures accompanied by higher benefits costs. In the Boston district, employers were enhancing compensation packages and offering up-front bonuses to attract job candidates. Dallas reported that more employers were offering nonpecuniary forms of compensation instead of raising wages.

Prices
 Overall prices were stable, and contacts in many areas attributed their inability to raise prices to competitive pressures. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, and Kansas City generally reported that prices remained steady; Cleveland saw only modest increases. Minneapolis noted that product prices for intermediate and final goods remained "quiescent." Several districts did refer to price movements in agriculture and energy. Minneapolis reported higher hay, cattle, and hog prices, and Dallas noted that lumber prices were up. Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas indicated that gasoline and crude oil prices were falling, and Kansas City noted lower wheat and fed cattle prices as well. San Francisco reported downward price pressure on meat and produce in grocery stores, although cattle prices there had "firmed further."

Banking and Finance
  Overall lending activity was mixed across districts. Commercial lending increased in several areas of the country. Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, and Chicago reported that commercial loan demand remained strong. Consumer lending was higher in Philadelphia and Cleveland, flat in Chicago, and down in the St. Louis district. Both Philadelphia and Chicago noted some increases in home equity lending. Residential mortgage demand was described as higher in the Richmond district, stable in the New York district, and relatively flat in the Atlanta district.
Delinquency rates fell somewhat in several districts. New York and Philadelphia reported that delinquency rates continued to decline for most types of loans. Delinquencies remained low in the Dallas district, especially in consumer lending. However, Cleveland reported a slight increase in consumer delinquencies. Cleveland and Kansas City reported tightening of credit standards, as some bankers cited concerns over credit quality.

 ちょっと長くなりましたが、普段はベージュブックなど読んだことが無い方が多いでしょうから、一部を引用してみました。前回のベージュブックより読んだ印象はアメリカ経済が少しまた強くなった印象はする。しかし、金利を押し上げるほどではない。長期債の売り局面は、今週で一巡したと見ます。今週は債券入札など、多くの特殊要因があって債券相場は売られやすい環境でした。

《 have a nice weekend 》

 電車が空いてきましたね。たまたま今朝私が乗った電車がそうだったのかも知れませんが、がらがらだった。来週は夏休みの人が多い。私も前半は会社に出てきますが、後半から休みをいただきます。このニュースも休みとなる予定です。

 休み明け(8月下旬)は、あちこちで講演します。今考えているのは、講演を聞く身になってよりわかりやすく、楽しく、かつ参考になるものにしようということです。8月下旬の講演の一つに当社日比谷支店でのものがあるのですが、ここではインターネットをオンラインでつないで、そのコンピューター・スクリーンをプロジェクターで出しながら、今の世界の経済状態を参加した皆さんに見てもらおうと思っています。

 これにはいろいろ準備がいる。同支店の神代君以下の若手に今努力してもらっているのですが、まず64kで会場のコンピューターをインターネットに接続しなければならない。そしてそれをプロジェクターで講演会場に映し出さねばならない。今までの銀行の講演というとパターンが決まっていましたよね。誰か講師が行って、用意された資料を説明する。それじゃ面白くない。

 インターネットをそのまま使うと、ネット上の膨大なリソースがそのまま使えるメリットがある。これまでは私も自作のpower point fileをプロジェクターで映し出す程度しかしてこなかった。しかし、これもファイルに限界がある。ネット上の膨大なリソースが使えれば、新しいタイプのプレゼンテーションが出来るのではないかと思っています。むろん、私自身のpower point fileもサーバーに落として使いますが。私も初めてのトライで、ちょっと楽しみにしています。

 先週金曜日に紹介させてもらった拙著「スピードの経済」(日本経済新聞社)は、結構売れ行き好調のようで、今週茅場町の「千代田書店」に行きましたら、ベストセラーになっていました。せっかく書いたのだから、大勢の方に読んでいただければ嬉しい。では、皆様には良い週末、来週一週間をお過ごし下さい。

               

 
                 ycaster@gol.com