¿Quién le teme al fin de la flexibilización cuantitativa?

TOKIO – La decisión de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos de abandonar gradualmente su política de flexibilización cuantitativa (compra ilimitada de activos a largo plazo) generó preocupación en los mercados financieros y en el ámbito político internacional, donde ya muchos alertan sobre una fuga de capitales de las economías emergentes y un derrumbe de precios de los activos. Pero estas preocupaciones son en gran medida infundadas, ahora que la mayoría de las grandes economías operan con un régimen cambiario flexible.

Las razones del temor al cambio de rumbo de la Reserva Federal son sencillas. La aplicación de políticas monetarias no convencionales en Estados Unidos (y en otros países avanzados, particularmente el Reino Unido y Japón) produjo una baja de los tipos de interés locales, lo cual inundó de liquidez los mercados financieros internacionales. En busca de más rentabilidad, los inversionistas llevaron esa liquidez a los mercados emergentes (sobre todo en forma de capitales especulativos a corto plazo), lo que creó una presión alcista sobre las monedas de estos países y aumentó el riesgo de generación de burbujas financieras. Se supone que el abandono de la política de flexibilización invertirá la dirección del flujo de capitales, elevará el costo del crédito y pondrá trabas al crecimiento de las economías.

Desde luego, no todos los mercados emergentes están igual de expuestos según este argumento. Los países más vulnerables son Turquía, Sudáfrica, Brasil, India e Indonesia (los denominados “cinco frágiles”), que se caracterizan por déficits gemelos (fiscal y de cuenta corriente), alta inflación y problemas de crecimiento económico.

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