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La bomba de tiempo de la liquidez

NUEVA YORK – Desde la crisis financiera global de 2008 ha surgido una paradoja en los mercados financieros de las economías avanzadas. Políticas monetarias no convencionales han generado un exceso gigantesco de liquidez. Pero una serie de sacudidas recientes sugieren que la liquidez macro ahora está asociada a una severa iliquidez del mercado.

Las tasas de interés promovidas por las políticas están cercanas a cero (y a veces por debajo de cero) en la mayoría de las economías avanzadas, y la base monetaria (el dinero creado por los bancos centrales en forma de efectivo y reservas líquidas de los bancos comerciales) ha aumentado -duplicándose, triplicándose y, en los Estados Unidos, cuadruplicándose en relación al período previo a la crisis-. Esto mantuvo bajas las tasas de interés a corto y largo plazo (e inclusive negativas en algunos casos, como Europa y Japón), redujo la volatilidad de los mercados de bonos e hizo aumentar muchos precios de activos (incluidos acciones, bienes raíces y bonos de renta fija del sector público y privado).

Y, sin embargo, los inversores tienen motivos para preocuparse. Sus miedos comenzaron con el llamado "flash crash" de mayo de 2010, cuando, en cuestión de 30 minutos, los principales índices bursátiles de Estados Unidos cayeron casi el 10%, antes de recuperarse rápidamente. Luego llegó el "taper tantrum" en la primavera de 2013, cuando las tasas de interés a largo plazo de Estados Unidos se dispararon 100 puntos básicos después de que el entonces presidente de la Reserva Federal Ben Bernanke sugirió su intención de poner fin a las compras mensuales de títulos a largo plazo por parte de la Fed.

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