Perché la deflazione è utile all'Europa

BRUXELLES – Nel panorama dei prezzi che caratterizza l'economia globale di oggi, quello del greggio è il più importante in assoluto. Ogni giorno si producono (e consumano) più di ottanta milioni di barili di petrolio, e un'ampia quota di questa produzione viene commercializzata a livello internazionale. Il forte calo del prezzo del greggio – dai circa centodieci dollari al barile dell’anno scorso ai circa sessanta di oggi – sta, dunque, fruttando un risparmio di centinaia di miliardi di dollari agli importatori di oro nero. Per l'Unione Europea e gli Stati Uniti, il guadagno che ne deriva ammonta a circa il 2-3% del Pil.

Nel caso dell'Europa, i vantaggi del petrolio a basso costo potrebbero aumentare nel tempo poiché i contratti di fornitura del gas di lungo periodo sono in buona parte indicizzati al prezzo del petrolio. Ciò rappresenta un altro vantaggio per il continente, dove i prezzi del gas naturale erano, fino a poco tempo fa, di gran lunga superiori a quelli negli Stati Uniti, avendo questi ultimi beneficiato del risparmio derivante dall'utilizzo del gas di scisto.

Molti osservatori, però, hanno obiettato che il petrolio a buon mercato ha lo svantaggio d'inasprire i trend deflazionistici nei paesi avanzati, che già sembrano assillati dal problema della crescita lenta. Dal loro punto di vista, il crollo dei prezzi del petrolio renderà ancora più difficile il raggiungimento del target d’inflazione fissato al 2% annuo, che la maggior parte delle banche centrali di questi paesi si è posta nell’adempiere all'obiettivo di mantenere la stabilità dei prezzi.

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