US Federal Reserve Karen Bleier / Getty Images

El gran peligro del límite inferior

CAMBRIDGE – Los mercados hoy en día están obsesionados con cuánto va a aumentar las tasas de interés la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos en los próximos 12 meses. Esta es una visión peligrosamente cortoplacista: la principal preocupación debería ser cuánto podría recortar las tasas en la próxima recesión profunda. Considerando que la Fed tal vez tenga que hacer un esfuerzo sólo para llevar su tasa de interés básica hasta el 2% en el próximo año, habrá poco espacio para un recorte si estalla una recesión.

La presidenta de la Fed, Janet Yellen, intentó tranquilizar a los mercados en un discurso a fines de agosto, donde sugirió que una combinación de compras masivas de bonos gubernamentales y un preanuncio sobre las políticas en materia de tasas de interés podría lograr el mismo estímulo que un recorte del tipo de interés a un día a -6%, si las tasas de interés negativas fueran posibles. Podría tener razón, pero la mayoría de los economistas son escépticos de que las herramientas de políticas poco convencionales de la Fed sean tan efectivas.

Existen otras ideas que podrían ponerse a prueba. Por ejemplo, la Fed podría imitar la reciente medida del Banco de Japón de apuntar a la tasa de interés a diez años en lugar de la tasa de muy corto plazo en la que suele concentrarse. La idea es que, inclusive si las tasas de interés a muy corto plazo son cero, las tasas a más largo plazo siguen siendo positivas. La tasa sobre los bonos del Tesoro de Estados Unidos a diez años era de aproximadamente 1,8% a fines de octubre.

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