El rompecabezas del tipo de cambio chino

La abrupta decisión de China de elevar el valor del renminbi (yuan) en un 2,1% y poner fin a su anclaje con el dólar ocurre tras meses de presión por parte de EE.UU. Sin embargo, es probable que la revaluación ocurra sólo una vez y que la libre flotación del renminbi no sea real, ya que a China le beneficia mucho la estabilidad de su moneda.

De hecho, el economista Robert Mundell, a cuyo trabajo sobre zonas monetarias óptimas se atribuyen las bases teóricas del euro, insiste que China debe mantener su tipo de cambio fijo como parte necesaria de su actual fase de desarrollo económico. No obstante, debido a la distorsionada estructura económica de China, su régimen cambiario presenta desafíos mucho mayores a los encontrados por Japón y otras economías del este de Asia.

Es claro que los tipos de cambio anclados a otra moneda han sido esenciales para el despegue económico del este asiático, ya que funcionan bien con el modelo de desarrollo de la región, orientado hacia las exportaciones. Sin embargo, la eficacia de un tipo de cambio fijo está determinada por el modo como los acontecimientos en el sector exportador afecten a las industrias locales y a la economía nacional como un todo. Si el crecimiento del sector comercial impulsa el de los demás sectores a nivel local, un tipo de cambio fijo no significará una presión sobre la balanza de pagos externa, a medida que aumente la demanda de bienes importados.

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