¿La liquidez es suficiente?

Cada semana, la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos y el Banco Central Europeo inyectan más liquidez en el sistema bancario global. La tasa de interés promedio pagada por reservas temporarias con pase a un día en Estados Unidos ha estado bien por debajo del 5,25% anual que, según dice públicamente la Fed, sigue siendo su objetivo.

Pero el mercado para las reservas temporarias con pase a un día hoy parece estar dividido en tres segmentos. Los bancos conocidos por su solidez pueden tomar a préstamo a mucho menos que el 5,25%. Pero los bancos que enfrentan posibles problemas de liquidez –que la Fed quiere que puedan tomar a préstamo al 5,25%- están tomando prestado directamente de la Fed al 5,75%, al igual que los pocos bancos grandes que quieren más liquidez pero no creen que puedan obtenerla sin afectar al mercado.

Una diferencia de este tipo en los precios cobrados a los “bancos regulados” en los mercados financieros es una señal de un posible colapso. Hasta el día de hoy, las primas cobradas son pequeñas: para un préstamo temporario de 100 millones de dólares, incluso un margen de un punto porcentual en la tasa de interés es de apenas 3.000 dólares. Eso refleja la escasa probabilidad que el mercado le está asignando a la ocurrencia de una crisis financiera total, con bancarrotas y quiebras bancarias. En tiempos normales, sin embargo, una prima de esta naturaleza directamente no existe.

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