El enigma del crecimiento de China

NEW HAVEN – Una vez más, todos los ojos están puestos en los mercados emergentes. Durante mucho tiempo fueron los preferidos de las apuestas del crecimiento global, pero en el arranque del 2014 están recibiendo un duro embate. Las percepciones de resiliencia han cedido paso a los miedos de una posible vulnerabilidad.

La reducción de las inyecciones de liquidez sin precedentes de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos ha sido un disparador obvio e importante. A las economías emergentes que dependen excesivamente de los flujos globales de capital -particularmente la India, Indonesia, Brasil, Sudáfrica y Turquía- les está costando financiar el crecimiento económico. Pero el nerviosismo por China se avizora como igualmente importante. Las preocupaciones de larga data sobre el temido "aterrizaje forzoso" de la economía china se han intensificado.

En tiempos de crisis, la generalización se convierte en norma, pero, al final, conviene diferenciarse. A diferencia de las economías emergentes proclives a los déficits que hoy están en problemas -cuyos desequilibrios recuerdan asombrosamente los de las economías asiáticas que fueron afectadas por la crisis financiera de fines de los años 1990-, China tiene un excedente de cuenta corriente. En consecuencia, no hay riesgo de que se produzcan salidas de carteras de inversión como resultado de la reducción por parte de la Fed de sus compras de activos mensuales. Y, por supuesto, el enorme respaldo de 3,8 billones de dólares en reservas de moneda extranjera con el que cuenta China es una sólida garantía en caso de un contagio financiero agravado.

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