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El misterio de la falta de inflación

NUEVA YORK – Desde el verano de 2016, la economía global ha experimentado un período de expansión moderada, en el que la tasa de crecimiento se aceleró gradualmente. Lo que no repuntó, al menos en las economías avanzadas, es la inflación. La pregunta es por qué.

En Estados Unidos, Europa, Japón y otras economías desarrolladas, la reciente aceleración del crecimiento se vio impulsada por un incremento de la demanda agregada, que es producto de una continua política fiscal y monetaria expansionista, así como de una mayor confianza de las empresas y los consumidores. Esa confianza estuvo motivada por una caída del riesgo financiero y económico, junto con la contención de los riesgos geopolíticos que, en consecuencia, hasta ahora han tenido poco impacto en las economías y los mercados.

Como una demanda más sólida significa menos holgura en el mercado de productos y laboral, se podría esperar que la reciente aceleración del crecimiento en las economías avanzadas trajera aparejado un repunte de la inflación. Sin embargo, la inflación de base ha caído en Estados Unidos este año y se mantiene persistentemente baja en Europa y Japón. Esto plantea un dilema para los principales bancos centrales -empezando por la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos y el Banco Central Europeo- que intentan eliminar gradualmente las políticas monetarias no convencionales: han garantizado un mayor crecimiento, pero todavía no alcanzan su objetivo de una tasa de inflación anual del 2%.

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