Loic Lagard/Flickr

Los Estados Unidos avanzan hacia un crecimiento más rápido

CAMBRIDGE – En el pasado mes de diciembre conjeturé que en 2014 el crecimiento del PIB de los Estados Unidos aumentaría de la deficiente tasa anual del dos por ciento habida en los cuatro años anteriores a la de un tres por ciento, aproximadamente, con lo que duplicaría, en realidad, la tasa de crecimiento por habitante. Ahora que la economía de los EE.UU. ha superado las consecuencias de las terribles condiciones meteorológicas habidas durante los cinco primeros meses del año, parece que la producción va camino de crecer a buen ritmo.

El motor primordial del crecimiento más rápido del PIB en este año es el aumento en diez billones de dólares de la riqueza de los hogares que hubo en 2013. Según la Reserva Federal, dicho aumento reflejó un incremento de dos billones de dólares en el valor de las viviendas y de ocho billones de dólares en el de las acciones, las empresas no constituidas en sociedad y otros activos financieros netos. Como explicó el ex Presidente de la Reserva Federal Ben Bernanke cuando lanzó  las compras de activos en gran escala, es decir, la relajación cuantitativa, ese aumento de la riqueza –y el consiguiente incremento del gasto en consumo– era el resultado que se perseguía.

La experiencia del pasado indica que cada aumento de 100 dólares en la riqueza de los hogares propicia un incremento gradual del gasto en consumo hasta el nivel de unos cuatro dólares. Eso significa que los diez billones de dólares de aumento de la riqueza incrementarán el nivel anual de gasto en consumo en unos 400.000 millones de dólares, es decir, el 2,5 por ciento, aproximadamente, del PIB. Aun cuando menos de la mitad de dicho aumento se produzca en 2014, será suficiente para aumentar la tasa total de crecimiento del PIB en un punto porcentual.

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