Oil drill in field.

El precio del petróleo y el crecimiento global

CAMBRIDGE – Una de las mayores sorpresas económicas de 2015 es que la asombrosa caída de la cotización mundial del petróleo no haya estimulado más el crecimiento global. A pesar del derrumbe de precios (de más de 115 dólares por barril en junio de 2014 a 45 dólares a fines de noviembre de 2015), la mayoría de los modelos macroeconómicos indican que el efecto sobre el crecimiento global fue menor al esperado: tal vez solo un 0,5% del PIB mundial.

La buena noticia es que este oportuno pero limitado estímulo al crecimiento probablemente se extienda más allá de 2016. La mala noticia es que el abaratamiento del petróleo crea más presiones para los principales países exportadores.

La reciente caída del precio del petróleo es similar a la que se produjo en 1985 y 1986 por un aumento de la oferta, cuando los países de la OPEP (léase: Arabia Saudita) decidieron liberar producción para recuperar cuota de mercado. También es comparable al derrumbe de 2008 y 2009 por una menor demanda después de la crisis financiera global. En la medida en que un abaratamiento del petróleo responde a la demanda, no cabe esperar un efecto positivo importante, ya que el precio del petróleo opera más como un estabilizador automático que como una fuerza exógena que rija la economía global. Pero de un shock de oferta puede esperarse un considerable impacto positivo.

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