Cuando se acaba el dinero fácil

LONDRES – La salida de Ben Bernanke, Presidente de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos, ha dado nuevo impulso a las especulaciones de cuándo y cómo la Fed y otros bancos centrales reducirán sus descomunales niveles de compra de activos de largo plazo, también conocida como facilitación cuantitativa (FC). Los observadores están atentos a cualquier noticia económica que sirva para predecir su continuación o la aceleración de su declive, pero es necesario prestar más atención al efecto de cualquiera de los resultados sobre diferentes actores económicos.

No hay duda sobre la gran escala de los programas de FC. Desde que comenzara la crisis financiera, la Fed, el Banco Central Europeo, el Banco de Inglaterra y el Banco de Japón han hecho uso de ella para inyectar más de $4 billones de liquidez adicional a sus economías. Cuando estos programas lleguen a su fin, los gobiernos, algunos mercados emergentes y algunas corporaciones podrían quedar en situación vulnerable y tendrán que prepararse para ello.

Según estudios realizados por el McKinsey Global Institute, las menores tasas de interés permitieron a los gobiernos europeos y estadounidense ahorrar cerca de $1,6 billones entre 2007 y 2012, lo que hizo posible un mayor nivel de gasto y menos austeridad. Si las tasas volvieran a los niveles de 2007, los pagos por concepto de intereses sobre la deuda pública se elevarían un 20%, si los demás elementos no cambian.

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