Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Otra lección de Japón

NEW HAVEN – Está por producirse una nueva sorpresa en una ya larga lista de sorpresas de inflación negativa. En Estados Unidos, el llamado IPC básico (índice de precios al consumidor) -que excluye los alimentos y la energía- ha bajado justo cuando se suponía que iba a subir. En el trimestre que terminó en mayo, el IPC básico esencialmente no se modificó, manteniéndose apenas 1,7% por encima del nivel del año anterior. Para una economía estadounidense que, según se presume en general, se está acercando al terreno sagrado del pleno empleo, este dato surge como un despertar brusco -particularmente para la Reserva Federal, que ha retirado todos los frenos para que la inflación regrese a su meta del 2%.

Del otro lado del mundo, una historia similar sigue generándose en Japón. Pero, para la economía japonesa proclive a la deflación, es una historia mucho más dura.

En el mes de abril, el IPC básico de Japón se mantuvo esencialmente sin modificaciones en relación a su nivel del año anterior, y un resultado similar se hizo evidente en mayo para la zona metropolitana de Tokio. Para el Banco de Japón (BoJ), que comprometió un arsenal sin precedentes de armas políticas no convencionales para detener un período de 19 años de una deflación del 16,5% que duró de 1994 a 2013, esto es mucho más que un despertar brusco. Es un bochorno que linda con el fracaso.

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