Chinese container ship Sean Gallup | getty images

China y el futuro precio de las materias primas

MANILA – Indudablemente, la actual desaceleración del crecimiento chino tuvo efectos de vasto alcance sobre la economía mundial, pero su papel en la brusca caída de los precios de las materias primas desde 2014 —un resultado devastador para los países exportadores de esos productos, entre los que se cuentan economías emergentes alguna vez dinámicas— es más limitado de lo que sugiere la creencia popular. De hecho, la desaceleración china solo nos cuenta una parte de la historia de los precios de las materias primas.

Ciertamente, existe una clara correlación entre el crecimiento del PIB chino y los precios de las materias primas. A principios de la década de 2000, cuando se aceleró el crecimiento de China, los precios de las materias primas aumentaron bruscamente, pero desde 2011 —cuando comenzó la desaceleración económica en ese país— los precios de la energía han caído el 70 %; los de los metales, un 50 %; y los precios de las materias primas agrícolas, el 35 %.

De todas formas, la explicación del colapso de los precios de las materias primas a través de la desaceleración china resulta, en el mejor de los casos, incompleta. Como muestran las nuevas investigaciones del Banco Asiático de Desarrollo, aunque China desempeña un papel significativo en los mercados de materias primas —representa aproximadamente la mitad del consumo mundial de metales, carbón y carne porcina, por ejemplo— no es, ni con mucho, tan dominante como se cree en general. China representa menos de un quinto del consumo mundial de azúcar, trigo, aves de corral y carne vacuna; el 12 % consumo mundial de petróleo crudo; y el 5 % del gas natural. De hecho, algunas de las materias primas que han experimentado las mayores bajas en sus precios —más notablemente el petróleo (que cayó el 73 %) y el gas natural (con una baja del 55 %)— son aquellas en las que China participa relativamente poco.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now