Alemania no es China

ROTTERDAM – Casi todos coinciden en que los desequilibrios globales en el comercio y los flujos de capital son al menos en parte los responsables de la crisis financiera y la subsiguiente recesión que ha sacudido a la economía mundial desde 2008. Pero no todos los desequilibrios se crean de la misma manera, de modo que es importante sopesar las consecuencias de las cuentas externas de cada país para la estabilidad y la prosperidad económicas a nivel global.

La historia convencional de la crisis es bien conocida: los crecientes precios de las viviendas alimentaron el consumo privado en Estados Unidos a principios de la década de 2000, a pesar de un tibio crecimiento salarial. Junto con la ampliación del déficit presupuestario estadounidense, el déficit de cuenta corriente de Estados Unidos –que ya era grande- se disparó, acompañado por excedentes externos cada vez más abultados en China y, a medida que los precios del petróleo subieron vertiginosamente, en países productores de petróleo como los Emiratos Árabes Unidos.

Europa, mientras tanto, sorprendía por sus cuentas aparentemente bien equilibradas, al menos en la superficie, si uno consideraba los 27 miembros de la Unión Europea o los 16 miembros de la eurozona. Mientras que Estados Unidos tenía déficits de cuenta corriente de hasta el 6% del PBI, la UE y la eurozona rara vez tenían déficit –o excedente- superior al 1% del PBI.

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