¿Podrían ser beneficiosos unos precios altos del petróleo?

Los precios mundiales del petróleo superaron el nivel de los 40 dólares por barril a mediados del verano y desde entonces han subido hasta el de los cincuenta y tantos dólares. Los precios actuales del petróleo siguen equivaliendo a sólo dos terceras partes del nivel real alcanzado durante la Revolución Iraní de 1979 y los mercados de futuros esperan que el precio del petróleo se reduzca y se estabilice en 45 dólares por barril. Pero el alto nivel actual de los precios del petróleo ha movido a los analistas a empezar a frenar sus esperanzas de crecimiento económico.

"Los precios altos se van a quedar", dice el analista económico americano Allen Sinai. "Eso tiene que reducir el crecimiento y podría causar un aumento de la inflación esencial". De hecho, según Sinai, unos precios más altos del petróleo son "el mayor riesgo... desde el estallido de la burbuja del mercado de valores en 2000-2001".

Sinai no es ni mucho menos el único en sostener esa opinión. Si el precio del petróleo se mantiene en el nivel de 40 dólares por barril, podemos esperar que no tenga apenas efectos en el crecimiento del PIB mundial a corto plazo, pero, si el precio del petróleo permanece en el nivel de los 60 dólares por barril o cerca de él, podemos esperar que todos los analistas prevean una reducción del PIB mundial de uno por ciento al año.

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