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  Emerging markets used to be known as the markets you couldn't emerge from in an emergency. They are now mainstream. Consultants are recommending greatly increased allocations to take advantage of the hottest growth story of our times. Mutual fund investors are syphoning money from developed markets and pouring it into EM funds – just as 10 years ago they cashed out of “old economy” stocks to chase the dotcoms.
  新兴市场过去常常被称作你在危急时刻脱不了身的市场。现在它们是主流。咨询顾问正建议大幅提高配置,以利用当今时代最热的增长故事。共同基金投资者纷纷从发达市场抽出资金,投入新兴市场基金——就像10年前他们卖掉“旧经济”股票去追逐网络股一样。

  As always, companies and investment banks have no trouble in meeting the new demand. Emerging market IPOs have been running at double the cash value of developed market IPOs, in spite of the much smaller market scale. What's wrong with this picture? Plenty. Academic studies have shown there is no positive correlation between gross domestic product growth and stock market returns – if anything the correlation is slightly negative. Professor Jay Ritter of the University of Florida is the author of one study that has analysed 100 years of data from 16 countries. His conclusion is clear: “Countries with high-growth potential do not offer good investment opportunities unless valuations are low”.
  跟往常一样,公司和投资银行毫无困难地满足了新需求。新兴市场首次公开发行(IPO)的现金价值一直是发达市场IPO的两倍,尽管市场规模逊色得多。这种情形有什么问题?很多。学术研究已经表明,国内生产总值(GDP)的增长与股市回报率之间不存在正相关关系——即使有关系,也是稍微负相关的。佛罗里达大学教授杰伊•里特(Jay Ritter)分析了16个国家100年间的数据。他的结论很明确:“除非估值处于低位,否则具有高增长潜力的国家不会提供良好的投资机会。”

  The reason for this counter- intuitive finding is that you do not buy shares in the statistical construct known as GDP. You buy the shares of real world companies. In immature fast-growing economies, the companies that end up winning the struggle for survival may not even exist yet. That was certainly so in the case of Japan's economic miracle. In the 1950s there were more than 100 motorbike companies. The market leader, Tohatsu, was driven out of business by the cut-throat pricing of a flaky upstart called Honda.
  这个有违直觉的发现的理由是,你买的不是统计结构中名为GDP的股票,而是现实世界公司的股票。在不成熟的快速增长经济体,最终赢得生存战役的公司可能甚至还不存在。日本的经济奇迹无疑就是如此。上世纪50年代,日本有100多家摩托车生产企业。在异军突起的本田(Honda)残酷价格竞争的逼迫下,市场领军企业东发(Tohatsu)最终破产了。

  Rich and stable cash flows are much rarer in emerging economies than in mature economies. So even the companies that survive and prosper – the emerging world's emerging champions – will likely finance their growth by repeatedly raising large amounts of new capital. This is of no benefit to shareholders without an overall improvement in return on capital.
  与成熟经济体相比,新兴经济体中的充裕而稳定的现金流要少得多。因此即使是生存下来并蓬勃发展的企业——新兴国家的新兴冠军企业——可能也会反复筹集巨额新资本为发展融资。如果没有资本回报率的整体改善,这种情况对股东没有任何好处。

  The macro picture is that emerging economies have large reserves of under-utilised savings and human resources. Mobilising them is both the key to success and the guarantor of mediocre investment returns. Why waste time attempting to raise returns on your existing capital when you can easily access more?
  宏观状况是,新兴经济体拥有大量未得到充分利用的储蓄和人力资源。调动这些储备既是成功的关键,也是获得中等水平投资回报的保证。当你轻轻松松就能获得更多资金时,为何还要浪费时间试图提高现有资本的回报?

  So are valuations low enough in the emerging markets to offer good investment opportunities? In less popular areas, perhaps yes. But the biggest of them all, China, is in a bubble phase. At its 2007 peak, the Shanghai A-share index traded at more than seven times book value, far above the five times reached by Japan's Nikkei Index at its peak 20 years ago.
  那么新兴市场的估值是否已低到足以提供良好的投资机会了?在不那么热门的地区,或许是这样。但最大的新兴市场——中国正处于泡沫阶段。在2007年的峰值水平,上证综指的估值达到账面价值的7倍多,远高于20年前日本日经指数达到峰值时的5倍。

  Having subsequently halved, Chinese stocks are no longer quite so expensive. However, the adjusted “Graham-and-Dodds” price-to-earnings ratio – a time-tested indicator of value which uses an average of 10 years' earnings – remains at a dizzying 50 times. Compare that with about 15 times in the US, itself by no means cheap in historical terms.
  随后下跌过半的中国股票已不再那么昂贵。然而,经过调整的格雷厄姆-多德(Graham-and-Dodds)市盈率——一种使用10年平均收益计算、经受住了时间考验的估值指标——仍然达到令人目眩的50倍。相比之下,美国的市盈率约为15倍,而其本身在历史上也绝不便宜。

  Residential real estate appears to be even more overvalued. In bubble-era Japan, a byword for manic real estate speculation, apartment prices peaked at 12-15 times average household income. In major Chinese cities, the multiple is now 15-20 times. Asset market bubbles of any scale and duration usually have their equivalents in the real economy. The biggest distortion in the Chinese economy is the explosion in fixed asset investment to an eye-popping 50 per cent of GDP. By comparison, Japan in its miracle decade clocked up economic growth rates similar to China's today by investing between 30-35 per cent of its GDP.
  住宅房地产的估值似乎更是过高。在泡沫时代的日本(疯狂房地产投机的代名词),公寓价格的最高水平为家庭平均收入的12至15倍。在中国的大城市,这一倍数目前是15至20倍。无论规模大小,持续时间长短,资产市场泡沫通常都能在实体经济中找到对应情形。中国经济中的最大扭曲之处,是固定资产投资的爆炸式增长——与国内生产总值(GDP)之比达到令人瞠目的50%。相比之下,日本在创造经济奇迹的10年间,通过占GDP 30%至35%的投资,就实现了与目前中国相似的经济增长速度。

  Just as there has never been a bubble that hasn't burst in the end, so there has never been an investment boom that hasn't been followed by a bust. If China's investment-to-GDP ratio were to drop to the levels of 1960s Japan – not an absurd idea, since that is also where it was in China 10 years ago – the impact would be catastrophic. China would face a slump and the mother of all banking crises. A domino reaction would hit the commodity exporters and other emerging economies. The deflationary impact of Chinese overcapacity would be felt everywhere, potentially putting the world trading system at risk. And investors would come to view the “Bric” acronym much as they do “TMT” today.
  正如从未有过最终不曾破裂的泡沫一样,也从未有过之后没有出现暴跌的投资热潮。如果中国的投资与GDP之比下降到上世纪60年代日本的水平——这不是一个荒唐的观点,因为这也是中国10年前的水平——其影响将是灾难性的。中国将面临一场暴跌和迄今规模最大的银行业危机。大宗商品出口国和其它新兴经济体将受到多米诺效应的冲击。中国产能过剩的通缩效应将在任何地方都能感受到,或许会让世界贸易体系面临风险。投资者将开始审视“金砖四国”这个缩略词,就像今天反思“科技、媒体、电信”(TMT)一样。

  Even if such a bleak scenario is averted, the key factor for investment returns in the emerging world, as everywhere else, is the price paid. As Warren Buffett said late last year: “It is a terrible mistake to look at what is going on in the economy today and decide whether to buy or sell stocks”. That goes for strong economies as well as weak ones.
  即使可以避免这种凄凉的局面,但与其它地方一样,新兴市场投资回报的关键因素在于支付价格。正如沃伦•巴菲特(Warren Buffett)去年年末所言:“研究当前的经济情况并决定是否买卖股票,是一个可怕的错误。”这既适用于强大的经济体,也适用于疲弱的经济体。

  Peter Tasker is a Tokyo-based analyst for Arcus Research
  本文作者为Arcus Research驻东京分析师
  
  译者/君悦

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