Las consecuencias económicas de la revuelta árabe

NUEVA YORK – Los desórdenes políticos en el Medio Oriente tienen serias implicaciones económicas y financieras, particularmente porque aumentan el riesgo de la estanflación, una combinación letal de desaceleración del crecimiento con una inflación que aumenta bruscamente. En efecto, si surge la estanflación, hay un grave riesgo de una recesión de doble caída para una economía global que apenas ha salido de la peor crisis que ha atravesado en varias décadas.

Los disturbios graves en el Medio Oriente históricamente han sido fuente de subida de los precios del petróleo, que a su vez han desencadenado tres de las últimas cinco recesiones globales. La Guerra de Yom Kippur de 1973 provocó un abrupto aumento de los precios del petróleo que condujo a la estanflación global de 1974-1975. La revolución iraní de 1979 generó un aumento estanflacionario similar de los precios del petróleo, que dio lugar a la recesión de 1980-1981. Y la invasión de Kuwait por Iraq en agosto de 1990 generó un incremento de los precios del petróleo en un momento en que una crisis bancaria ya estaba sumiendo a los Estados Unidos en una recesión.

Los precios del petróleo también desempeñaron un papel importante en la reciente recesión debida a los problemas financieros. Para el verano de 2008, justo antes del colapso de Lehman Brothers, los precios del petróleo se habían duplicado a lo largo de los doce meses previos hasta llegar a un nivel máximo de 148 dólares por barril –con lo que dieron el tiro de gracia a una economía global que ya era débil y estaba en apuros por las sacudidas financieras.

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