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La nueva anormalidad de la economía mundial

NUEVA YORK – Desde principios de este año, la economía mundial enfrenta un nuevo período de intensa volatilidad en los mercados financieros, marcado por la brusca caída de los precios de las acciones y otros activos riesgosos. Son diversos los factores en juego: la preocupación por un aterrizaje forzoso de la economía china y el posible decaimiento del crecimiento en Estados Unidos en un momento en que la Fed ha comenzado a elevar las tasas de interés, los temores por la escalada en el conflicto saudí-iraní, y las señales —principalmente el desplome de los precios del petróleo y las materias primas— de una intensa debilidad en la demanda mundial.

Y hay más: la caída de los precios del petróleo —junto con la falta de liquidez en el mercado, el aumento del apalancamiento de las empresas energéticas estadounidenses, de las empresas energéticas y de la frágil deuda soberana en las economías exportadoras de petróleo— están agudizando el temor por graves eventos crediticios (incumplimientos) y una crisis sistémica en los mercados de crédito. Luego tenemos las aparentemente interminables preocupaciones por Europa, con un aumento de la probabilidad de que Gran Bretaña abandone la Unión Europea (la llamada Brexit), mientras los partidos populistas de la derecha y la izquierda ganan terreno en todo el continente.

Estos riesgos se ven amplificados por algunas sombrías tendencias para el mediano plazo, que implican crecimiento mediocre generalizado. De hecho, la economía mundial en 2016 seguirá estando caracterizada por una nueva anormalidad en términos del producto, las políticas económicas, la inflación y el comportamiento de los precios de los activos clave y los mercados financieros.

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