América Latina : ¿nacional, popular y ortodoxa?

Cada vez que aparecen en la economía signos de cambio, la gente se pregunta si se trata de un cambio transitorio o permanente. Impulsada en buena medida por el apetito casi insaciable de China e India, América Latina está experimentando un gran crecimiento. Durante los últimos cinco años, para tomar algunos ejemplos, Chile se ha expandido en un 5% anual, Argentina en casi el 9%, Venezuela en más del 10% y la Comunidad Andina en 6%. Los desempeños más discretos son los de las naciones grandes (México y Brasil), que precisamente por sus dimensiones afean un poco las estadísticas agregadas. Sólo por eso se explica que la región crecerá al 4,5% en 2007 frente a un promedio mundial del 5%.

Una regularidad de la historia de post-guerra en América Latina ha sido que ciclos de bonanza como el que acabamos de describir tenían su talón de Aquiles en el déficit de cuenta corriente del sector externo y, por lo tanto, en el endeudamiento para financiarlo. No es eso lo que está ocurriendo ahora. América Latina terminará 2007 con superávit de cuenta corriente y con los bancos centrales acumulando reservas, lo que constituye un reaseguro contra eventuales crisis financieras. Por un lado, el comercio mundial está creciendo y América Latina, a su vez, está aumentando su participación exportadora en ese contexto. Por otro lado, los términos del intercambio han mejorado.

En materia de precios, la fortuna ha sido especialmente generosa con los productores de petróleo y gas (como Venezuela o Bolivia ) y minerales (como Chile), pero no se portó mal ni siquiera con los productores de alimentos (como Argentina o Uruguay ), tan golpeados durante décadas y que ahora se ven beneficiados por notables innovaciones bio-genéticas que han ampliado las tierras cultivables. Además hay un fenómeno sorprendente que favorece a todos: los precios de los bienes de capital de base tecnológica que América Latina importa han estado cayendo durante la última década.

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