China ante el desafío de las tasas de interés

NUEVA YORK – La transformación exitosa de China de un país de medio ingreso a uno moderno y de altos ingresos dependerá en gran medida de las reformas que el gobierno emprenda a lo largo de la siguiente década. Las reformas financieras deberían ser las primeras en la lista, empezando por la liberalización de la tasa de interés. Sin embargo, liberalizar las tasas de interés conlleva riesgos y ventajas, y creará asimismo ganadores y perdedores, por lo que, los responsables del diseño de políticas deben ser prudentes en la forma de abordarlas.

En 2012, el Banco Popular de China (BPC) permitió a los bancos comerciales establecer tasas de interés variables sobre los depósitos superiores a 10% del nivel de referencia, y sobre los créditos bancarios inferiores al 20%. Así pues, si el BPC establece la tasa de interés anual de depósitos al 3%, los bancos comerciales pueden ofrecer a los depositantes una tasa de hasta 3.3%. Muchos analistas vieron esta política, que introdujo algo de competencia entre bancos comerciales, como una señal de que China pronto haría una mayor liberalización de las tasas de interés.

No obstante, cualquier medida con miras a liberalizar las tasas de interés debe tomar en cuenta todos los costos y beneficios potenciales. Los responsables chinos del diseño de políticas deberían empezar a hacer un análisis minucioso de los efectos de la actual represión financiera (la costumbre de mantener las tasas de interés por debajo del nivel de equilibrio del mercado).

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