Liu Tao/Flickr

Los peligros de la libertad financiera

LONDRES – Allá por 2007, el entonces primer ministro de China, Wen Jiabao, describió estupendamente la economía de su país como "inestable, desequilibrada, descoordinada e insustentable". Hoy, el desequilibrio persiste, y la economía está demasiado centrada en la inversión y depende excesivamente del crédito.

El actual liderazgo de China está decidido a construir un modelo más equilibrado, y cree que el mercado debe desempeñar un "papel decisivo" para lograrlo. Sin embargo, si bien se necesita una disciplina de mercado más fuerte en algunas áreas, las autoridades chinas no deberían albergar la ilusión de que los mercados libres son una panacea para el sector financiero. De hecho, los actuales desequilibrios económicos de China reflejan en parte los peligros creados por la competencia en los mercados de crédito.

Incluso antes de la crisis financiera global de 2008, el ratio inversión anual/PBI de China estaba en un nivel excepcionalmente alto de 40%, y los economistas reclamaban una transición a un crecimiento liderado más por el consumo. Pero el enorme estímulo crediticio introducido en 2009 empujó la economía aún más en la dirección contraria. El ratio de inversión aumentó a 47% en 2012 y la construcción hoy representa el 30% de la producción total. El crédito total aumentó de 130% a 200% del PBI, y tanto los préstamos bancarios como el crédito del "sistema bancario en la sombra" se están expandiendo rápidamente.

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