El mal sueño de China

LONDRES – Desde su primer discurso como presidente de China el año pasado, Xi Jinping ha fomentado el “Sueño Chino” de rejuvenecimiento nacional y autosuperación individual. Pero la necesidad de hacer frente a los niveles de deuda sin precedentes que China ha acumulado en los últimos años está poniendo a prueba su determinación, y su gobierno está titubeando.

La poca claridad sobre la capacidad (o voluntad) del gobierno chino para poner freno al endeudamiento se puede apreciar en su contradictorio compromiso con la implementación de reformas estructurales de peso y mantener simultáneamente un crecimiento anual del PIB del 7,5%. Puesto que China debe tanto de su crecimiento actual a las inversiones financiadas por deuda (a menudo destinada a proyectos de infraestructura y vivienda para apuntalar el Sueño Chino), es probable que cualquier iniciativa para limitar el aumento del crédito acabe siendo un aterrizaje forzoso, y esta perspectiva ya está haciendo que las autoridades posterguen reformas esenciales.

No hay duda de que la relación entre deuda y PIB de China, que llegó a un 250% este mes, sigue siendo significativamente menor que la de la mayoría de las economías desarrolladas. El problema es que normalmente el nivel de crédito privado estaría asociado con una renta per cápita de cerca de USD 25.000, casi cuatro veces mayor que el indicador actual del país.

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