Una nueva versión del mercado monetario

CAMBRIDGE – El mes pasado, en la Conferencia de Bancos de la Reserva Federal de EE. UU. sobre el mercado monetario, los funcionarios lamentaron la sostenida fragilidad del mercado. Efectivamente, a seis años de que la corrida en el mercado monetario casi puso al sistema financiero estadounidense –de, hecho, al mundial– de rodillas, los riesgos fundamentales que dieron lugar a la crisis aún no han sido controlados.

El núcleo del mercado monetario soluciona una necesidad de las empresas o instituciones sin fines de lucro: almacenar efectivo y poder acceder a él casi inmediatamente. Una universidad, por ejemplo, debe separar parte de los pagos de matrícula de sus alumnos para cubrir gastos imprevistos. Pero ese monto es superior a 250 000 USD, el máximo que el gobierno asegura en una única cuenta. Para aumentar la seguridad para su efectivo, la universidad puede recurrir a bonos del Tesoro de EE. UU.

El proceso es simple. La universidad deposita el dinero en un banco durante un período breve –a menudo, un solo día– y el banco le entrega un bono del Tesoro de EE. UU. como garantía. Si el banco no devuelve el efectivo al día siguiente, la universidad puede vender el bono, quedarse con el efectivo adeudado y regresar lo restante al banco. Eso es casi tan seguro como un depósito en un banco con garantía gubernamental.

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