¿Está sobrevaluado el euro?

CAMBRIDGE – A los estadounidenses que viajan a Paris o a Berlín continuamente les llama la atención los altos precios en comparación con los de su país. Un cuarto de hotel, un simple almuerzo o una camiseta de hombre, todos esos productos cuestan más al tipo de cambio actual que lo que costarían en Nueva York o Chicago. Para reducir el costo de dichos bienes y servicios al nivel del de los Estados Unidos, el euro tendría que descender en relación con el dólar en un 15%, a alrededor de 1.10 dólares.

Es fácil que estos datos lleven a concluir que el euro está sobrevaluado y que es probable que continúe el descenso que empezó en diciembre pasado. No obstante, tal conclusión sería errónea. Mirando hacia adelante, es más probable que el euro suba de nuevo al nivel de 1.60 dólares que alcanzó en 2008.

Hay tres razones por las que la impresión del viajero de que el euro está sobrevaluado es equivocada. Primero, los precios que ve el viajero por lo general son más altos debido al impuesto al valor agregado (IVA), que es universal en Europa pero desconocido en los Estados Unidos. Si se descuenta el IVA, que típicamente es del 15% o más, los precios en Europa son similares a los de los Estados Unidos.

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