Paul Lachine

La caída de la eurozona

NUEVA YORK – La crisis de la eurozona parece a punto de alcanzar el clímax: Grecia está al borde de la cesación de pagos y de una salida deshonrosa de la unión monetaria, mientras que Italia está al borde de perder acceso a los mercados. Pero los problemas de la eurozona no terminan allí. Son problemas estructurales que afectan gravemente a por lo menos otras cuatro economías: Irlanda, Portugal, Chipre y España.

Durante la última década, los países del grupo conocido como PIIGS (Portugal, Irlanda, Italia, Grecia y España) fungieron como principales consumidores de la eurozona, al gastar una cifra superior a sus ingresos y mantener un déficit de cuenta corriente cada vez mayor. Entretanto, los del núcleo de la eurozona (Alemania, los Países Bajos, Austria y Francia) fungieron como principales productores, con gastos inferiores a los ingresos y un superávit de cuenta corriente cada vez mayor.

Estos desequilibrios externos también se apoyaron en la fortaleza del euro desde 2002 y la divergencia de tipos de cambio reales y niveles de competitividad dentro de la eurozona. En Alemania y otros países del núcleo, el costo laboral unitario se redujo (porque los salarios crecieron menos que la productividad) y esto condujo a una depreciación en términos reales y a un aumento del superávit de cuenta corriente; mientras que en los PIIGS (y Chipre) ocurrió lo contrario y se produjo una apreciación en términos reales y un aumento del déficit de cuenta corriente. En Irlanda y España, el ahorro privado se derrumbó y la presencia de burbujas inmobiliarias impulsó el exceso de consumo, mientras que en Grecia, Portugal, Chipre e Italia, el factor que agravó los desequilibrios externos fue un déficit fiscal excesivo.

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