La “crisis de los activos” de las economías emergentes

BEIJING – En teoría, el saldo de los flujos de entrada y de salida de capitales en los países en desarrollo debería ser positivo, es decir, deberían ser importadores netos de capital y la magnitud del saldo debería ser equivalente al déficit en cuenta corriente. No obstante, desde la crisis financiera asiática de 1997-1998, muchos países de Asia oriental han estado registrando superávits de cuenta corriente --y por lo tanto, se han convertido en exportadores netos de capital.

Resulta aun más extraño el hecho de que, a pesar de ser exportadores netos de capital, tienen superávits en sus cuentas financieras (de capital). Dicho de otro modo, estos países prestan no solo el dinero que han ganado mediante los superávits en cuenta corriente, sino también el que han pedido prestado mediante los superávits en cuenta de capital --principalmente a los Estados Unidos. Como resultado, los países del Asia oriental tienen ahora enormes reservas de divisas en valores públicos estadounidenses.

Si bien China ha atraído una cantidad importante de inversión extranjera directa, ha comprado una cantidad aun mayor de valores públicos estadounidenses. Mientras que los rendimientos promedio de la IED en China para las empresas estadounidenses fueron de 33% en 2008, el rendimiento promedio de las inversiones de China en valores públicos estadounidenses fue de apenas un 3-4%. ¿Por qué entonces invierte China una parte tan importante de sus ahorros en valores públicos estadounidenses de bajo rendimiento y no en proyectos nacionales con mayores beneficios?

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