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2012年9月14日 星期五

[短文閱讀] 今年的全球貿易急轉直下,形勢相當嚴峻

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International trade


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Global trade has turned down sharply this year. The outlook is pretty bleak, too



TRADE- WATCHERS often look to the oceans to gauge activity. Bustling docks and harbours mean importers and exporters are busy, and trade figures are likely to be strong. Empty quays are ominous. At the end of 2011 data from big ports started to turn choppy, fuelling fears of a slowdown that has come to pass. The OECD reports that exports fell by over 4% in the second quarter of 2012 in Britain and India; Russia and South Africa lost more than 8%. That is particularly bad news for places like Singapore and Hong Kong, which are important trade hubs (see chart 1); open euro-zone countries like Ireland and Belgium are also highly exposed.

貿易觀察家們經常盯著海洋來衡量經濟活動。熙來攘往的碼頭和港口代表著進出口的繁忙,貿易的數據多半走強。空蕩蕩的碼頭則預示著不祥之兆。在2011年底時,大港口的資料開始轉為時有時無,加深經濟衰退將至的恐慌。OECD的報告顯示,英國和印度在2012年第二季的出口值跌幅逾4%。俄羅斯與南非更跌了8%以上。對新加坡和香港這種重要的貿易中樞,這無疑是個大惡耗。開放的歐盟國家像愛爾蘭和比利時亦深深地暴露在危險中。

The obvious cause of falling trade is the global economic slowdown. Since exports are sales to foreigners, they tend to weaken when buying power is low. That means trade often tracks global GDP quite closely. At a more granular level, too, the patterns of trade match the fortunes of economies. Since 2011, imports into the stagnant European Union have fallen by 4.5%. In contrast the oil-rich Middle East has increased imports by 7.4%.

貿易衰退的明顯原因是全球經濟的不景氣。既然是把東西賣給外國人,當購買力低時,出口自然變差。所以貿易數據可以非常密切地用以判斷全球GDP值。由更細的層級而論,貿易的模式也與經濟的財富相符合。自從2011年起,經濟停滯的歐盟之進口數字掉了4.5%,而相對地,富藏石油的中東,其進口數字則增加了7.4%。

bleak [記憶法] [blik; bli:k] <環境等> 淒涼的,淒楚的
watcher [記憶法] 觀察家
gauge [記憶法] [gɛdʒ; ^ɛidʒ]評估…; 判斷…
bustling [記憶法] [ˋbʌslɪŋ] 忙碌的,忙亂的,嘈雜的,熙熙攘攘的
quay [記憶法] [ki; ki:] (常指石造或混凝土造的) 碼頭
ominous [記憶法] [`ɑmənəs; 'ɔminəs] 《omen 的形容詞》不祥的,不吉利的; 凶兆的
choppy [記憶法] [`tʃɑpɪ; 'tʃɔpi] 《chop 的形容詞》 斷斷續續的,無關聯的
fuel [記憶法] [`fjuəl; 'fju:əl, fjuəl] 給…添木柴,加燃料於… <船、飛機> 加 [補給] 燃料
slowdown 生意等的衰退
hub [記憶法] [hʌb; hʌb] <<可數名詞>> 中樞, 中心
exposed [記憶法] [ɪkˋspozd]<<形容詞>> 1 暴露於風雨 [攻擊,危險 (等) ] 的
weaken [記憶法] [`wikən; 'wi:kən] 使…變弱,削弱; 使…軟弱,使…虛弱
granular [記憶法] [`grænjəlɚ; 'grænjulə] 《granule 的形容詞》粒狀的; 含顆粒的 (表面) 粗糙的
stagnant [記憶法] [`stægnənt; 'stægnənt] 不活潑的; 不景氣的,蕭條的