El riesgo real de la tasa de interés

BEIJING – Desde el año 2007, la crisis financiera ha llevado al mundo a una época de flexibilización cuantitativa y de tasas de interés bajas, casi cerca a cero, mientras que al mismo tiempo la mayoría de los países desarrollados tratan de reducir la presión de la deuda y de perpetuar los frágiles ciclos de pago. Pero, a pesar de se habla sobre que la flexibilización monetaria es la “nueva normalidad”, existe un gran riesgo de que las tasas de interés reales (ajustadas por la tasa de inflación) vayan a subir en la próxima década.

El total de activos de capital de los bancos centrales en todo el mundo llega a un monto de $18 millones de millones de dólares, o el 19% del PIB mundial – el doble del nivel de hace diez años. Esto les da una gran cantidad de munición para guiar a las tasas de interés de mercado a la baja, mientras dichas tasas combaten la recuperación más débil desde la Gran Depresión. En los Estados Unidos, la Reserva Federal ha bajado su tasa de interés de referencia (benchmark interest rate) diez veces desde agosto de 2007, de 5,25% a una zona de entre cero y 0,25%, y ha reducido la tasa de descuento 12 veces (un total de 550 puntos básicos desde junio 2006), a 0,75%. El Banco Central Europeo ha bajado su tasa principal de refinanciación ocho veces, lo que significa un total de 325 puntos básicos, llegando hasta el 0,75%. El Banco de Japón ha bajado dos veces su tasa de interés, que ahora se sitúa en el 0,1%. Y el Banco de Inglaterra redujo su tasa de referencia en nueve ocasiones, un total de 525 puntos, hasta llegar a un mínimo histórico del 0,5%.

Pero este intento vigoroso para reducir las tasas de interés está distorsionando la asignación de capital. EE.UU., que tiene el mayor déficit y la mayor deuda del mundo, es el mayor beneficiario de la financiación barata. Con la persistencia de la crisis de la deuda soberana de Europa, el efecto de refugio seguro ha impulsado al rendimiento de diez años de los bonos del Tesoro a su nivel más bajo en 60 años, mientras que el diferencial swap a diez años – la brecha entre una tasa fija y una tasa flotante para flujo de pagos – es negativa, lo que implica una pérdida real para los inversores.

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