Thursday, July 31, 2014
Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space
7

El retrasado ajuste de cuentas de la zona del euro

NUEVA YORK – Los riesgos que afronta la zona del euro se han reducido desde el verano, cuando la salida de Grecia parecía inminente y los costos del endeudamiento de España e Italia alcanzaron nuevos niveles insostenibles, pero, si bien han disminuido las tensiones financieras, las condiciones económicas en la periferia de la zona del euro siguen siendo precarias.

Varios factores explican la reducción de los riesgos. Para empezar, el programa de “transacciones monetarias directas” del Banco Central Europeo ha sido increíblemente eficaz: los márgenes de los tipos de interés de España e Italia se han reducido en unos 250 puntos básicos, aun antes de que se gastara un solo euro para comprar bonos estatales. La introducción del Mecanismo Europeo de Estabilidad (MEDE), que aporta otros 500 millones de euros (650 millones de dólares) para sostener los bancos y las deudas soberanas, también ha ayudado, como también el reconocimiento por los dirigentes europeos de que una unión monetaria por sí sola es inestable e incompleta, pues requiere una integración bancaria, fiscal y política más profunda.

Pero tal vez lo más importante es que la actitud de Alemania para con la zona del euro en general y Grecia en particular ha cambiado. Los funcionarios alemanes entienden ahora que, dados los amplios vínculos comerciales y financieros existentes, una zona del euro desordenada no sólo perjudica a la periferia, sino también al centro. Han dejado de hacer declaraciones públicas sobre una posible salida de Grecia y acaban de apoyar un tercer plan de rescate para este país. Mientras España e Italia sigan siendo vulnerables, un desplome griego podría desencadenar un grave contagio antes de las elecciones alemanas del año próximo, lo que pondría en peligro las posibilidades de la Canciller Angela Merkel de conseguir otro mandato. Así, pues, Alemania seguirá financiando a Grecia de momento.

No obstante, la periferia de la zona del euro da pocas señales de recuperación: el PIB sigue contrayéndose, por la actual austeridad fiscal, la fortaleza excesiva del euro, una grave crisis crediticia mantenida por la escasez de capital de los bancos y la deprimida confianza de las empresas y los consumidores. Además, la recesión de la periferia está extendiéndose ahora al centro de la zona del euro, pues la producción francesa se ha contraído e incluso Alemania se ha estancado, ya que el crecimiento en sus dos principales mercados de exportación está disminuyendo (el resto de la zona del euro) o aminorándose (China y otros países de Asia).

Además, continúa la balcanización de la actividad económica, los sistemas bancarios y los mercados de deuda pública, pues los inversores extranjeros huyen de la periferia de la zona del euro y buscan seguridad en el centro. Los niveles de deuda pública y privada son altos y posiblemente insostenibles. Al fin y al cabo, se sigue sin abordar la pérdida de competitividad que propició los grandes déficits exteriores, mientras que unas tendencias demográficas adversas, unos débiles aumentos de la productividad y una lenta aplicación de las reformas estructurales reducen el crecimiento potencial.

Desde luego, en los últimos años ha habido algunos avances en la periferia de la zona del euro: se han reducido los déficits fiscales y algunos países están acumulando ahora superávits presupuestarios primarios (pues la balanza fiscal excluye los pagos de intereses). Asimismo, las pérdidas de competitividad se han corregido en parte, pues los salarios han quedado rezagados respecto del aumento de la productividad, con lo que se han reducido los costos laborales unitarios y están en marcha algunas reformas estructurales.

Pero, a corto plazo, la austeridad, unos salarios más bajos y las reformas son recesivos, mientras que el proceso de ajuste en la zona del euro ha sido asimétrico y recesivo/deflacionario. Los países cuyos gastos superaban sus ingresos se han visto obligados a gastar menos y ahorrar más, con lo que han reducido sus déficits comerciales, pero países como Alemania, que estaban ahorrando excesivamente y acumulando superávits exteriores, no se han visto obligados a hacer un ajuste aumentando la demanda interna, por lo que sus superávits comerciales han seguido siendo grandes.

Entretanto, la unión monetaria sigue padeciendo un desequilibrio inestable: o la zona del euro avanza hacia una integración más plena (reforzada por la unión política para brindar una legitimidad democrática a la pérdida de soberanía nacional en los asuntos bancarios, fiscales y económicos) o padecerá desunión, desintegración, fragmentación y tarde o temprano la ruptura. Y, mientras que los dirigentes de la Unión Europea han publicado propuestas para una unión bancaria y fiscal, ahora Alemania está haciéndola retroceder.

Los dirigentes alemanes temen que los elementos de reparto del riesgo con una integración más profunda (la recapitalización de los bancos por el MEDE, un fondo de resolución común para bancos insolventes, un seguro de depósitos en toda la zona del euro, una mayor autoridad fiscal de la UE y una mutualización de la deuda) entrañen una unión de transferencias políticamente inaceptable, en virtud de la cual Alemania y el centro subvencionen unilateral y permanentemente a la periferia. Así, Alemania cree que los problemas de la periferia no son consecuencia de la falta de una unión bancaria o fiscal, sino que, en su opinión, los grandes déficits fiscales y la deuda reflejan un escaso potencial de crecimiento y una pérdida de competitividad, debidos a la falta de reformas estructurales.

Naturalmente, Alemania no reconoce que las uniones monetarias logradas como los Estados Unidos tienen una unión bancaria plena con importantes elementos de reparto de riesgos y una unión fiscal, por la cual las crisis idiosincrásicas que padece la producción de determinados Estados quedan absorbidas por el presupuesto federal. Los EE.UU. son también una gran unión de transferencias, en la que los Estados más ricos subvencionan permanentemente a los más pobres.

Al mismo tiempo, aunque se están haciendo propuestas para una unión bancaria, fiscal y política, se habla poco de cómo restablecer el crecimiento a corto plazo. Los europeos están dispuestos a apretarse el cinturón, pero necesitan ver una luz al final del túnel en forma de ingresos y aumento de los puestos de trabajo. Si las recesiones se intensifican, la reacción social y política contra la austeridad resultará abrumadora: huelgas, disturbios, violencia, manifestaciones, ascenso de partidos políticos extremistas y desplome de gobiernos débiles. Y, para estabilizar las proporciones deuda/PIB, el denominador debe empezar a aumentar; de lo contrario, los niveles de deuda resultarán insostenibles, pese a los esfuerzos para reducir los déficits.

Los riesgos imprevistos de una salida de Grecia de la zona del euro o una pérdida de acceso a los mercados en gran escala en Italia y en España han quedado reducidos para 2013, pero la crisis fundamental de la zona del euro no se ha resuelto y otro año de ir tirando mal que bien podría reavivar esos riesgos de forma más virulenta en 2014 y años posteriores. Lamentablemente, es probable que la crisis de la zona del euro no desaparezca en los próximos años, con lo que seguirán siendo más probables reestructuraciones de deuda coercitivas y salidas de la zona del euro.

Traducido del inglés por Carlos Manzano.

Nouriel Roubini es presidente de Roubini Global Economics (www.roubini.com) y profesor en la Escuela Stern de Administración de Empresas de la Universidad de Nueva York.

Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space
Hide Comments Hide Comments Read Comments (7)

Please login or register to post a comment

  1. CommentedHergen Heinemann

    Nouriel you say:
    Of course, Germany fails to recognize that successful monetary unions like the United States have a full banking union with significant risk-sharing elements, and a fiscal union whereby idiosyncratic shocks to specific states’ output are absorbed by the federal budget. The US is also a large transfer union, in which richer states permanently subsidize the poorer ones.
    Nouriel you forget, that the EU-zone is a bunch of egocentric selfish states, which cannot be forced by any rules to do the neccessary in order to be entitld for asking the solidarity of the core states.

  2. CommentedJoshua Ioji Konov

    How Austerity Measures may bring Negative Effect on the Economy
    BX:Market Economy
    There are number of austerity measures especially in EU to bring deficit and national debts lower than 3%, that practice is quite controversial with History. Such actions most definitely helped to jumpstart the First World War and than brought the preconditions for the Second World War. However, in a pro-supply economics of Capitalism and pro-supply marketplace such measures should work well to prompt investment and affiliate the trickle down powers of capital that would make the economic environment healthy. Such ideology approach in economics that is based on historical experience and pure perception of the presence is expected to bring its “magic” economic revival to its followers. The conservative forces elsewhere are uniting to put once and forever end to spending, end to social and infrastructural programs, end to Medicare, and end to any tax brakes or subsidies to small business and the middle class overall. And, these powers are almost right, it is most definite that if the current system of economics and financing is not enhanced to accommodate the new developments that have come with the ongoing Globalization and ever rising Productivity that have kicked off industrial production outsourcing and relocation, with the incredible industrial capacity succeeded by China and now expanded to some other countries like India, Brazil, Vietnam then the currently used economics of “shady” business practices lacking business laws in contracting, personal liability of corporate structures, of “shady” financial exchanges practices making Stock and other Exchanges hardly accessible by small and medium investors of the middle class, of high interest lending to small and medium businesses and individuals, of deepening poverty almost elsewhere in the World, of low percent growth by the Most Industrialized Economies, of constant lack of Fiscal Reserves by many economies consequence of decreasing industrial production, and etc.

    When following the statistics of marginal economic growth, relatively high unemployment, deepening poverty, shrinking middle class, if objectivity is the ruling factor it becomes more then obvious that these developments are not in result of excessive consumption, nor these are in result of rising deficit or national debt or the payments over this national debt, at least not yet.

    To simplify the reasons to the Last Recession and the still ongoing economic marginality to a deficit and debt issues is pure ideology, it is alike to believe into “magic” powers of a “trickle-down” “shady” economics of concentration of capital and eventual self-adjusting powers of this capital prompting industrial production onto economies like the US where even productivity is very high the industrial employment is more expensive then almost everywhere the Return of Invested Capital to such industrial production is not even close enough to this in China, or Malaysia, or now Vietnam, so unless the “magic” of so called “trickle-down” economics is not a real magic there will be nothing major happening that could affect the US or UK or any economy by using the ideology approaches as a matter of fact. The austerity measures in UK, the Keynes approaches of US, the wide spreading poverty “method” elsewhere else, the anti-deflationary methods used in Japan are to be short term adjustments to an ongoing process of shortages of Fiscal Reserves, of shortages of Industrial Production, of ever expanding poverty if the system of Economics does not accommodate these new developments of Globalization and rising Productivity and changes the economic approaches in international business laws, international financing, low interest rate lending and financing renewable energies and environmental protection, and etc., the Global Financial Order must be changed, ladies and gentlemen, with one that takes in account all of these new developments and the ideology of Karl Marks, however productive it had been for a couple of Centuries, must let go, and a new system of Economics very practical and pragmatic one should be let rule.

    Until this new system of Global Financing and flexible adjustment of Monetary and Fiscal Quantities is developed and apprehended Mr. Cameron’s austerity measures may well bring some “magic” if you believe in magic anywhere.
    What about President Obama’s approach: at least he is more real to call problems with their real names: high unemployment, lack of Fiscal Quantities, poor Consumption, deepening poverty and disappearing Middle Class, and we shell respect his effort to do what must be done despite ferocious attacks by the conservative, by the insurance companies, and by many blinded individuals who still believe in the “magic” powers of the “trickle-down” Capitalism in a Worlds of China, India, and etc.
    http://sites.google.com/site/economicsofmarket/
    © Joshua Konov,2010

  3. CommentedAntónio Correia

    Undoubtedly, the "economic conditions on the eurozone’s periphery remain shaky. Under the "muddling through" approach, followed by the franco-german axis and the EU institutions, " the eurozone crisis is likely to remain with us for years to come, sustaining the likelihood of coercive debt restructurings and eurozone exits ".
    As Paul Krugman recently said, "The Euro is a shaky construction". The Euro has been designed – by Delors et al – as a "single currency" instead of a (much more realistic) "common currency", and now it is very clear that this was a very bad choice. In a paper presented several months ago

    [ http://www.princeton.edu/jrc/events_archive/repository/inaugural-conference/Harold_James.pdf ],

    Harold James recommended "keeping the Euro for all members of the Eurozone but also allowing some of them (in principle all of them) to issue – if they needed it – national currencies". One month ago, the guidelines of a similar recommendation - but exhibiting an extra flexibility - have been proposed for the EU27

    [ http://building-a-true-european-union.blogspot.com ]:

    " - The Euro should be a COMMON currency within the future EU - including the EU27 members outside the current 'Euro Area' - but not necessarily the SINGLE currency:
    - In this context, the coexistence of TWO parallel currencies should be allowed in each EU member state (under certain conditions, established in a novel European Treaty), within the framework of an appropriate "Cooperative European Disunion" .
    - Besides the "Common Euro", the complementary currency in each member state could be either a "national currency" (...) or a completely new currency, shared by that member state and some other "compatible" EU member states, taking into account both the relevant macroeconomic issues and appropriate geographic, historic and cultural issues."

  4. CommentedJohn Gavin

    The debt-based monetary system used in our central banks is very flawed. Debt is used to crate our money supplies and so, debt must grow as the economy grows. The cost of theis debt is also paid with money created as more debt, so the debt growth is exponential.
    This means that debt vs GDP is not linear but parabolic and is limited by the effect of accelerating debt on economic growth. When the ability to pay for the growing debt reaches this limit, then GDP will plummet. Negative GDP becomes a self-sustaining descent into oblivion.
    As our governments ignore spending and simply raise tax rates, the time to failure will be shortened. The ensuing crash becomes irreversible as money seeks shelter. Governments who add more debt as revenues contract are guaranteeing a severe collapse of their monetary system and GDP as debt skyrockets.
    Political attempts at fairness only increase the chance of collapse. In the USA, it's hard to conceive of a successful outcome as the White House insists on increasing the risk of default as it continues to deny the need for drastic changes to the system in order to end the use of debt by the federal government.

  5. CommentedPaul A. Myers

    I believe Mr. Roubini's conclusion is half-right: there will continue to be coercive debt restructurings but I think the risk of a euro exit will be quite small.

    At each debt restructuring, much more is to be gained by the principal parties than to let a default occur. So they will continue.

    In the intermediate term, some sort of fiscal framework will emerge, and it will involve some degree of transfer union. But it will be supervised by some sort of representative political authority or institution. Since the transferees are relatively small in both population and economic presence, the transferee areas will only be able to bargain for so much out of the core.

    In contrast in the US, the small states have disproportionate political power in the US Senate. So small states have magnified leverage. This will not be the case in Europe.

    So, eventually, a European transfer union might be more "efficient" than the US.

    Deeper political integration should ultimately benefit the economically strong; power and influence will march with the big battalions.

  6. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    I would like to ask Mr. Roubini to respond to the current statistics of Eurozone stock indexes, who have returned double digit returns to their investors against the rather appalling conditions of gloom; is it a dysfunctional construct that belies the rhetoric that debt restructuring programs of some of the States in distress is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for monetizing a growth-deprived economic sojourn? How could the European stock indexes discount a rather bleak future as the operating environment continues to be turbid and goes beyond the shores of the Union and in as many directions as possible?

    Procyon Mukherjee

  7. Commenteddonna jorgo

    intristing ..maybe EUZ will saperate before GR go out..
    17 countries to EUZ have problem bankare ..have problem export -import ..so we will waiting 2013 no is short term 2015---and...
    thank you i like you column (always)

Featured