Cuando las tasas de interés suban

CAMBRIDGE – Los niveles actuales de las tasas de interés de largo plazo son insosteniblemente bajos. Esto implica burbujas en los precios de los bonos y de otros valores. Cuando las tasas de interés suban, y no hay duda de que lo harán, las burbujas estallarán, los precios de esos valores caerán, y todos quienes los posean serán perjudicados. En la medida en que los bancos y otras instituciones financieras altamente apalancadas sean los tenedores, la explosión de las burbujas podría causar bancarrotas y crisis en los mercados financieros.

La bajísima tasa de interés de los bonos del Tesoro estadounidense de largo plazo es un claro ejemplo de la errónea fijación de precios actual de los activos financieros. Una letra del Tesoro a diez años tiene una tasa de interés nominal de menos del 2 %. Como la tasa de inflación también es aproximadamente del 2 %, esto implica una tasa de interés real negativa, confirmada por la tasa de interés del -0,6 % para los bonos de tesorería indexados por inflación (TIPS, por su sigla en inglés), que ajustan tanto los intereses como el capital según la inflación.

Históricamente, la tasa de interés real de las letras del Tesoro a diez años se ha mantenido por encima del 2 %; por lo tanto, la tasa actual se encuentra aproximadamente dos puntos porcentuales por debajo de su promedio histórico. Pero esas tasas históricas prevalecieron en épocas en que los déficits fiscales y la deuda del gobierno federal eran mucho menores los actuales. Con déficits presupuestarios proyectados del 5 % del PBI para fines de la década entrante, y una relación entre deuda y PBI que aproximadamente se ha duplicado en los últimos cinco años y continúa creciendo, la tasa de interés real de las letras del Tesoro debiera ser significativamente superior que en el pasado.

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