Se equivocan los “pesimistas del crecimiento” en Europa

El pesimismo sobre la economía en Europa es tan profundo que mientras mejor desempeño tenga la economía hoy, peor piensa la gente que lo tendrá mañana. Este año ha sido excelente para el crecimiento económico de Europa. Con todo, en vez de pensar que el impulso que se ha generado en 2006 seguirá y hará que 2007 sea un año mejor aún, los expertos europeos pesimistas predicen una desaceleración significativa. Para ellos, parece no haber forma de que Europa tenga dos buenos años seguidos.

Por supuesto, todos los años hay desafíos para el crecimiento, y 2007 no será la excepción. Lo que motiva –o atemoriza—a los pesimistas en particular son (1) tasas de interés más altas en Europa, (2) la desaceleración de la economía de los EU y (3) el aumento al impuesto al valor agregado (IVA) en Alemania del 16% al 19% previsto para principios de año. Pero se equivocan al atemorizarse por esos factores.

El temor por los efectos del aumento de las tasas de 2006 del Banco Central Europeo sobre el crecimiento se basa en la confusión entre tasas de interés reales y nominales. Para finales de año, las tasas de interés europeas habrán aumentado 150 puntos de base (del 2% en enero a 3.5%). Pero la inflación europea está creciendo aproximadamente al mismo ritmo. Eso significa que las tasas de interés reales –medidas en términos de bienes y servicios—se han mantenido iguales. Y es la tasa de interés real –no la tasa monetaria—la que cuenta para el crecimiento económico.

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