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Lex专栏:伊朗怎么了?

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2018年01月12日

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Iran is a paradox. Its government is dominated by hardline religious conservatives yet it has one of the highest female university enrolment rates in the world. It hardly counts itself as a friend of Israel, yet its Jewish population is the second largest in the region. And its latest street protests, driven by economic discontent, come as the price of its biggest export, crude oil, has surged by nearly half since the summer.

伊朗是一个悖论。其政府由强硬的宗教保守派占主导地位,但这个国家的女性大学入学率跻身于世界最高之列。伊朗并不认为自己是以色列的朋友,但该国拥有地区第二大的犹太人口。而就在该国最大出口商品原油的价格自去年夏季以来上涨近一半的时候,经济上的不满酿成了最新的街头抗议。

Iran’s economy, in some ways, looks better than that of its great Islamic rival Saudi Arabia. So long as sanctions — lifted in January 2016 — do not return, the economy and its government should survive the protests. That is not to say life is easy. With half the population under the age of 30, and youth unemployment estimated at 25 per cent, tensions have been long brewing. Inflation at 10 per cent no doubt hurts, though prices were climbing at a faster pace during the time of the 2009 riots.

在某些方面,伊朗经济看起来好过其在伊斯兰世界的大对手沙特阿拉伯。只要2016年1月解除的制裁不再恢复,伊朗经济和该国政府就应该能够挺过这波抗议。这并不是说日子好过。考虑到 30岁以下人口占总人口一半,而青年失业率估计高达25%,紧张已经酝酿了很久。10%的通胀无疑是痛苦的,尽管在2009年骚乱期间价格上涨速度更快。

What will bite harder are Tehran’s plans to increase taxes while also cutting subsidies on key commodities such as petrol. The government is doing this to take the pressure off its budget. Yet Iran’s fiscal deficit, according to the World Bank, is not so wide at 1.5 per cent of GDP. Compare that figure with Saudi Arabia’s, proportionally six times larger.

更难以忍受的将是德黑兰方面计划增税,同时削减对汽油等关键大宗商品的补贴。政府这样做的动机是减轻预算压力。然而据世界银行(World Bank)统计,伊朗的财政赤字并不大,仅相当于GDP的1.5%。不妨将这一数字与沙特阿拉伯的数字比较,后者的这一比例是其六倍。

Part of this difference has to do with Iran’s more diversified economy, which reduces its dependence on oil and gas exports. Years of economic sanctions only forced the economy further inwards. Output has increased since sanctions were lifted; in the two years to December, it grew by 32 per cent to 3.8m barrels a day, according to estimates from Energy Aspects.

这种差异在一定程度上与伊朗更加多元化的经济有关,这减少了对石油和天然气出口的依赖。多年的经济制裁迫使经济进一步向内。制裁解除后,产出有所增加:据咨询公司Energy Aspects估计,在截至12月的两年里,伊朗的石油产量增长32%,达到每日380万桶。

Higher volumes coupled with stronger oil prices can only help. Even better for locals would be some additional investment in refining capacity. A shortfall of domestically produced petrol means Iran — Opec’s third-largest producer of crude — must import 50,000-80,000 barrels per day of petrol, stoking inflation as world prices for that have jumped as well.

更高的产量加上油价走强,只能说是积极因素。对当地人来说,更好的将是在炼油产能方面得到一些额外投资。国产汽油短缺意味着,身为欧佩克(OPEC)第三大原油生产国的伊朗,每日必须进口5万至8万桶汽油,从而引发通胀,因为世界汽油价格也大幅上涨。

Iran’s economy may not be anywhere near meeting its potential, but it is also nowhere near the dire state of some other Opec members, most notably Venezuela. On the other hand, a resumption of full international sanctions on its oil exports would drive the oil price higher. Yet another paradox for Iran and her people.

伊朗经济也许远远没有发挥出潜力,但它的形势毕竟比其他一些境况糟糕的欧佩克成员国(尤其是委内瑞拉)好得多。另一方面,恢复针对伊朗石油出口的全面国际制裁将推高油价。那将是伊朗及其人民面对的又一个悖论。
 


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