city of london John Keeble/Getty Images

El ángulo empresarial de Brexit

LONDRES – Hace casi un año, los británicos votaron – 52% a 48%  – a favor de abandonar la Unión Europea. Muchos esperaban que el voto produjera una grave volatilidad económica. Pero la economía, hasta ahora, ha demostrado tener resiliencia, aunque a medida que nos acercamos a las elecciones generales de esta semana, hay señales de que el mayor nivel de inflación está afectando a los consumidores y a algunos negocios. La pregunta es si la economía puede resistir, en los hechos, los procedimientos de divorcio de la UE.

Inmediatamente después de la votación a favor de Brexit, la rápida actuación del Banco de Inglaterra ayudó a calmar los mercados financieros y a mantener el flujo de crédito. A diferencia de la crisis financiera mundial del año 2008, el costo del crédito para la mayoría de las empresas y familias en el Reino Unido no ha aumentado; en todo caso, dicho costo ha bajado. Durante todo este tiempo, los consumidores británicos han hecho lo que mejor saben hacer: gastar su dinero en tiendas y vía internet. El gasto de los hogares apoyó un crecimiento general cercano al 2% el año pasado.

El gran cambio en los mercados financieros ha sido la fuerte caída en el valor de la libra. El tipo de cambio más débil ha contribuido a la competitividad de los exportadores en el Reino Unido. La encuesta de tendencias industriales del mes de  abril, realizada por la Confederación de la Industria Británica (institución en la que trabajo como economista en jefe), mostró el aumento más fuerte en la fabricación de pedidos de exportación desde el año 2011. Pero, ese aumento es una espada de doble filo: los fabricantes británicos también enfrentan el aumento más rápido en los costos unitarios promedio desde el mismo año 2011, debido a los precios crecientes de las importaciones.

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