Logic Cubes Sarah R/Flickr

El enigma de los tipos de interés

BASILEA – Actualmente, el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos puede endeudarse durante diez años a un tipo de interés fijo del 2,5 por ciento, aproximadamente, lo que, ajustado para tener en cuenta la inflación, equivale a un costo real del endeudamiento de menos del 0,5 por ciento. Hace un año, los tipos reales eran, en realidad, negativos y, como en el mundo desarrollado predominan los tipos de interés bajos, muchos están preocupados por que haya comenzado un período de estancamiento persistente.

Hasta qué punto pueden ser problemáticos los tipos de interés reales depende de la razón de su descenso. La opinión predominante es la de que la tendencia al descenso refleja en gran medida una reducción de los tipos de interés equilibrados o “naturales”, debida a los cambios en los fundamentos del ahorro y la inversión. Dicho de otro modo, una mayor propensión a ahorrar en las economías en ascenso, junto con una mayor preferencia de los inversores por los activos seguros, ha aumentado la oferta de ahorro a escala mundial, justo cuando unas perspectivas de crecimiento débil y una mayor incertidumbre en las economías avanzadas han reducido la demanda de inversión.

Se considera que la aparente tendencia al descenso de los tipos de interés “naturales” constituye un obstáculo fundamental para la recuperación económica, porque obstaculiza la capacidad de la política monetaria para brindar un estimulo suficiente al hacer que los tipos de interés reales se encuentren por debajo del nivel de equilibrio, en vista de que el límite de los tipos nominales es cero. Así, pues, el de cómo detener la bajada de los tipos equilibrados ha pasado a ser el objeto de un animado debate.

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