Tue, Jul 03, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Chinese airlines become collateral damage in US trade spat
受美中貿易戰波及 中國航空公司間接受害

Chinese airlines has ordered more than US$100 billion of planes from Airbus SE and Boeing Co in the past decade. Paying those bills is getting harder with the prospect of a trade war pushing the local currency to its lowest level in six months.

A weaker yuan means Air China Ltd, China Southern Airlines Co and China Eastern Airlines Corp will find it more costly to pay for new aircraft, which are priced in US dollars. The airlines must also spend in foreign currency for fuel purchased overseas, which is somewhat cushioned by international ticket sales. All told, they are bracing for higher expenses and fewer passengers as trade tensions build up between the world’s two biggest economies.

Investors have pummeled the shares of the three biggest Chinese airlines on concern the weaker yuan will result in a dip in earnings. Flag carrier Air China has tumbled 22 percent in Hong Kong since June 13, while China Southern Airlines and China Eastern have slid 25 percent and 18 percent since June 14, losing a combined market value of about US$11.5 billion.

“Trade concern is the one [thing] that’s pushing the yuan down,” said Mohshin Aziz, an aviation analyst at Maybank Investment Bank in Kuala Lumpur. “That’s the root cause of all the branches of troubles we’re going through.”

A weaker yuan also means higher interest payments on dollar-denominated debt. Air China had about US$21 billion of dollar-denominated debt; China Southern had US$18 billion; and China Eastern US$11 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Since reaching a high in late March 2015, the Chinese currency has declined almost 5 percent amid ongoing trade tensions with the US and last week’s decision by the People’s Bank of China to cut the reserve requirement ratio — a move set to unlock 700 billion yuan (US$107 billion) of liquidity effective July 5.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. trade war; trade spat phr.

貿易戰 (mao4 yi4 zhan4)

2. foreign currency phr.

外幣 (wai4 bi4)

3. cushion v.

緩衝 (huan3 chong1)

4. pummel v.

連續擊打;拋售 (lian2 xu4 ji1 da3; pao1 shou4)

5. market value phr.

市值 (shi4 zhi2)

6. dollar-denominated debt phr.

以美元計價的債務 (yi2 mei3 yuan2 ji4 jia4 de5 zhai4 wu4)

7. reserve requirement ratio phr.

法定存款準備金率 (fa3 ding4 cun2 kuan3 zhun3 bei4 jin1 lu4)


Every 1 percent fluctuation in the dollar would translate to a loss or gain of 280 million yuan annually for Air China, 278 million yuan for China Southern and 260 million yuan for China Eastern, according to K. Ajith, a Singapore-based analyst at UOB Kay Hian.

(Bloomberg)

過去十年來,中國的航空公司向空中巴士和波音公司訂購飛機的訂單已超過一千億美元。貿易戰的可能性,使得中國貨幣貶值到六個月來的新低,航空公司付款變得愈來愈艱難。

人民幣疲軟,也就代表中國國際航空、中國南方航空、中國東方航空支付新飛機的費用會更為所費不貲,因為飛機是以美元計價。同時,航空公司也必須用外幣支付在國外購買的燃料費用,但也能藉由國際機票銷售獲得緩衝。總歸來說,在世界兩大經濟體之間的貿易緊張情勢節節升高之際,這些航空公司正準備面對更昂貴的成本支出以及更少的乘客。

由於擔憂人民幣疲軟將會導致獲利降低,投資者近期持續拋售這三大中國航空公司的股份。中國國際航空是代表中國的載旗航空公司,自六月十三日以來,其股價已於香港交易所重挫百分之二十二,而中國南方航空與中國東方航空的股價則自六月十四日以來分別下滑了百分之二十五和百分之十八,總市值蒸發將近一百一十五億美元。

吉隆坡馬來亞投資銀行的航空產業分析師莫辛‧阿吉茲指出:「對貿易的擔憂,是導致人民幣貶值的原因之一。」他同時補充表示:「這也是我們目前正在經歷的各種困境背後的根本原因。」

疲弱的人民幣也意味著償還美元計價債務的同時,必須支付更高的利息。根據彭博社彙編的資料顯示,中國國際航空以美元計價的債務金額約為兩百一十億美元,中國南方航空以及中國東方航空則分別有一百八十億和一百一十億的美元計價債務。

人民幣自從在二○一五年三月下旬達到新高後,走勢開始下滑。近期對美貿易持續的緊繃情勢,再加上中國人民銀行上週決定從七月五日起下調法定存款準備金率,計畫釋放出人民幣七千億元(一千零七十億美元)的流動資產,已使得人民幣下跌了將近百分之五。

新加坡大華繼顯證券公司的分析師阿吉特指出,美元匯率只要上下浮動一個百分比,就會對中國國際航空造成每年人民幣二億八千萬元的虧損或收益,對中國南方航空和中國東方航空而言,則會分別產生人民幣二億七千八百萬元以及二億六千萬元的損益。

(台北時報章厚明譯)

Follow Up

讀後練習

Vocabulary extension

Dollar-denominated debt

means loans taken out by a company (or government) calculated in US dollars. Since the loan is expressed in US dollars, repayment of the loan must be made in US dollars. Loan repayments are therefore affected by the exchange rate of the base currency used to take out the loan. If the base currency weakens against the dollar, the value of loan repayments will increase and vice-versa.

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