India children slum school Ritesh Shukla/ZumaPress

De vuelta a los fundamentos en los mercados emergentes

CAMBRIDGE – Tras 15 años de euforia, ha ganado fuerza un nuevo tópico: que los mercados emergentes pasan por grandes dificultades. Muchos analistas habían proyectado un crecimiento rápido e indefinido en países como Brasil, Rusia, Turquía e India, apresurándose a calificarlos como los nuevos motores la economía mundial. Hoy en casi todos ellos ha bajado el ritmo de crecimiento y los inversionistas retiran sus capitales, en parte impulsados por las expectativas de que la Reserva Federal de EE.UU. aumente sus tasas de interés en septiembre. Sus monedas han perdido valor, al tiempo que los escándalos de corrupción y otros problemas políticos abruman la narrativa económica en lugares como Brasil y Turquía.

Mirado en retrospectiva, está claro que no había argumentarios coherentes que explicaran el crecimiento de la mayoría de los mercados emergentes. Si se va un poco más allá de la superficie se podrá ver que las altas tasas de interés estaban impulsadas no por una transformación productiva sino por la demanda interna, impulsada a su vez por auges temporales de los precios de los productos básicos y niveles insostenibles de endeudamiento público o, más frecuentemente, del privado.

Sí, en los mercados emergentes abundan las grandes empresas mundiales y es inconfundible la expansión de las clases medias. Pero solo una ínfima proporción de la mano de obra de estas economías trabaja en empresas productivas, mientras que el resto es absorbido por empresas informales e improductivas.

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