¿Malestar mundial en 2006?

El todopoderoso consumidor americano tuvo otro año excepcional en 2005, con lo que ayudó a sostener el crecimiento económico mundial, aunque a un ritmo inferior que en 2004. Como en los últimos años, su consumo correspondió a su nivel de ingresos o lo superó y en 2005 los Estados Unidos en conjunto se gastaron bastante por encima de sus medios y tomaron dinero prestado del resto del mundo a un ritmo febril: más de 2.000 millones de dólares al día.

Hace un año, la mayoría de los expertos sostuvo que era insostenible. Evidentemente, sí que lo fue, al menos por un año más, pero no por ello deja de ser cierto que lo que es insostenible no se sostendrá, cosa que entraña grandes riesgos para los Estados Unidos y la economía mundial en 2006.

Dos sorpresas económicas prolongaron los buenos tiempos en 2005. En primer lugar, mientras la Reserva Federal de los EE.UU. siguió subiendo los tipos de interés a corto plazo, los tipos a largo plazo no aumentaron al mismo ritmo, lo que permitió que siguieran subiendo los precios de las viviendas. Fue un factor de la mayor importancia para sostener el crecimiento mundial, pues en los últimos años el sector inmobiliario ha propulsado el buen funcionamiento de la mayor economía del mundo, con lo que se han refinanciado las hipotecas y se ha gastado parte de los fondos obtenidos y los altos precios han propiciado más construcciones.

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