La próxima divisoria de la inflación en la zona del euro

ZURICH – Los debates  en el Consejo de Gobernadores del Banco Central Europeo, que se reunirá el 7 de abril, van a empezar a ser intensos. El riesgo de que el aumento de la inflación en Asia se transmita a Europa hará que los halcones en materia de inflación del Banco se enfrenten con quienes son partidarios de velar por que se logre una recuperación del pleno empleo lo antes posible, pero lo que puede causar una disensión aún mayor es un nuevo conflicto de intereses nacionales, en vista de que las tasas de inflación en la zona euro divergen.

La causa subyacente de esa divergencia es el papel mucho mayor que desempeñan las importaciones procedentes de China y otras economías en ascenso del Asia oriental en las economías alemana o belga que en los países del sur de Europa. Por ejemplo, las importaciones de Alemania procedentes de China ascendieron a un total de unos 63.000 millones de dólares en 2009, casi equivalente a las importaciones procedentes de Francia, Grecia, Italia, Portugal y España combinadas. Y la importancia del comercio de China, como porcentaje del PIB, es casi el doble en el caso Alemania que en cualquiera de esos países.

Además de esa diferencia en la magnitud relativa de las importaciones, el efecto benigno en los precios de la competencia por las importaciones de bajo costo es mucho mayor en el panorama competitivo minorista de Alemania que en sistemas minoristas más tradicionales y no competitivos de Italia o Grecia.

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