Los fijadores de metas, en la mira

LONDRES – Cuando hablaba en los tiempos económicos más felices de 2005, Mervyn King –entonces y ahora gobernador del Banco de Inglaterra- acentuaba la importancia de afianzar las expectativas públicas de una inflación baja y estable. Advertía que “si uno deja que las expectativas inflacionarias se alejen demasiado del objetivo, se puede terminar en serias dificultades y con un proceso costoso para retrotraerlas”. King ahora debe ser un hombre preocupado.

Las propias encuestas trimestrales encargadas por el Banco de Inglaterra sobre las actitudes públicas revelan que la credibilidad de su Comité de Política Monetaria (MPC, por su sigla en inglés) hoy está debilitada. Durante los últimos 15 meses, el objetivo de inflación del 2%, que fija el gobierno y que supuestamente debe hacer cumplir el Banco de Inglaterra, se ha excedido en más de un punto porcentual. Durante gran parte de este período, el público británico esperó que la inflación en el próximo año fuera menor que en el año anterior, gracias a los sólidos antecedentes del MPC en materia de estabilidad de precios. Esa confianza hoy se disipó: las expectativas inflacionarias alcanzaron la tasa de inflación real del 4%.

No existe ningún misterio respecto de lo que está pasando. El mandato de estabilidad de precios se vio sobrepasado por las preocupaciones sobre el crecimiento. El miedo es que un ajuste de la política monetaria para abalanzarse sobre la inflación podría apagar la vacilante recuperación económica.

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