Tuesday, October 31, 2006

變幻中的人民幣

每到中國公幹,換取人民幣的過程都令禤中怡感到這個發展中國家的發展及變化。九十年代初,禤中怡到上海公幹,最初秘書小姐在港已為我兌換了一點錢,但經過一輪應酬飲宴後,已使得七七八八,當時「碌」信用卡在國內還不是十分流行,尢其是一些國營食店,更是少有電子貨幣概念。

最令禤中怡印象深刻的一次,是在淮海中路(上海市內著名街道之一)一家國營銀行裡,(我絕對記得這家銀行的名稱,但為存厚道,還是不提也罷,不過,可以給讀者們一點貼士,這家銀行是在香港上市的大、大、大型中資銀行股,而且近期她的公司新聞十分矚目。)當時禤中怡拿著港幣現金希望兌換成人民幣,但當我把錢遞向銀行櫃位內的職員時,這位女士卻沒有說話,手卻向外「指一指」,最初我也不明所以,其後銀行內一角,一位身穿西裝,手持一大疊現金的壯漢,向我叫道:「換錢的這邊來吧!」

顯然這位壯漢並非銀行職員,但他卻可在銀行內公然設立櫃位,搶銀行生意,而且淮海中路並非甚麼不毛之地,是上海的一線街道(當時浦東還未如今日般出名)。竟然也會出現這樣的事情,我當時雖然只是一個初出茅蘆的中環小伙子,但已深深體會到中國的金融業確實有其「不同之處」,與香港的一套絕對不能同日而喻。

九十年代後期,中國銀行界以至外匯市場無疑已進入另一階段。由於外資、工業出口突飛猛進,外幣交易在商業營運上起著莫大的功能作用,過去因為港幣的流通性強,兌換人民幣的生意在珠三角一帶十分盛行,無論是士多小店,以至街邊小販都活躍其中,這種地下外匯交易市場雖然並非如銀行般受着相關條例監管經營,但存在卻是事實。內地商家亦往往用得上與美元能自由兌換的港幣,故此港幣在民間是具一定吸引力的。

不過,近年由於中國經濟增長強勁,在美國威迫人民幣不斷升值的壓力下,反而令到人民幣與港幣的關係來了個一百八十度的轉變。

最近禤中怡與太太到深圳閒逛,走到深圳火車站的銀行兌換人民幣時,第一天的兌換價為每100港元可兌換為101人民幣,但到第二天,再到上址時,已變成每100港元兌換100.9人民幣。而且港元這種「慢慢地」的貶值趨勢,對港元在內地民間的流通性亦帶來了一定影響,除了羅湖商業城的商店願意收港幣外,我走到深圳街頭,很多商號也只對人民幣有興趣,講明不接受港元找數。(其一原因是他們對辨認偽鈔感到十分困難)

這現象與香港愈來愈多商舖,願意接受仍然不能完全在國際市場自由兌換的人民幣結算的情況,可謂南轅北轍。

在禤中怡的童年記憶中,在八十年代國內有一些名為外滙券的東西,在內地的受歡迎程度,比較人民幣還高,外地人(如我的爸、媽)拿著外滙券回鄉探親,(幫內地親友購買「來路」電子產品的日子裏),外匯券就是特權人士的貨幣,能夠在市面上買到的東西,較國內同胞手上的人民幣還要多呢!

今時今日,從人民幣升值的趨勢來看,港幣在國內民眾心目中的價值顯然正不斷下降,反而人民幣對香港人而言,持有大抵上也不會有甚麼蝕底,人民幣在香港民間的流通程度從常理上估計,只會愈來愈高,港幣的生存空間在世界金融市場及國內市場正出現反向發展。

對於中環投資人而言,近十年來人民幣的發展過程正好反映出「世事常變,變幻才是永恆」的道理。

(10月31日刊於《am730》)

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