Especuladores en las bombas

WASHINTGTON, DC – Hasta hace unas semanas, cuando los precios del petróleo estaban en alza, existía un debate encendido sobre los roles relativos de los fundamentos económicos y la especulación a la hora de fomentar los precios del petróleo. Si bien los precios del petróleo ya han caído del pico que alcanzaron, no debe olvidarse ese debate, ya que tiene profundas implicancias políticas que los funcionarios del gobierno harían mal en ignorar.

Por supuesto, si los precios más altos se deben a los fundamentos, los mercados petroleros están funcionando como deberían. Pero si se deben a la especulación, entonces los estrategas políticos deben tomar medidas para refrenar cualquier comportamiento que haya impuesto costos inmensos e innecesarios a la economía global. Y, cuando se confronta la evidencia, todo apunta a la especulación como culpable.

Mientras que muchos participantes del mercado petrolero han culpado a la especulación, la mayoría de los economistas defienden cómo se desempeñaron los mercados petroleros y le apuntan a los fundamentos económicos. Un argumento que utilizan los economistas es que los precios más elevados se deben al dólar débil. Como el petróleo se cotiza en dólares, un dólar débil hace que el petróleo les resulte más económico a los usuarios de otros países, lo que aumenta la demanda global.

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