Las incógnitas conocidas del otoño

NUEVA YORK – En plena guerra contra Irak, Donald Rumsfeld, por entonces secretario de defensa de EE. UU., habló de «incógnitas conocidas»: riesgos previsibles cuya ocurrencia es incierta. Hoy, la economía mundial enfrenta muchas incógnitas conocidas, en su gran mayoría, derivadas de la incertidumbre en las políticas.

En Estados Unidos, tres fuentes de incertidumbre política llegarán a un punto crítico este otoño. Para comenzar, no queda claro si la Reserva Federal iniciará en septiembre o más adelante una «reducción gradual» de su flexibilización cuantitativa (FC), cuán rápidamente limitará sus compras de activos de largo plazo, y cuándo y con qué velocidad comenzará a aumentar las tasas de interés por encima del actual nivel cero. También está la cuestión de quién sucederá a Ben Bernanke como presidente de la Fed. Finalmente, otra lucha partidaria por poner techo a la deuda estadounidense podría aumentar el riesgo de una paralización del gobierno si la Cámara de Representantes, controlada por los republicanos, y el presidente Barack Obama y sus aliados demócratas no logran acordar un presupuesto.

Las primeras dos fuentes de incertidumbre ya han afectado a los mercados. El aumento de las tasas de interés de largo plazo en EE. UU. –desde un mínimo de 1,6 % en mayo hasta los recientes máximos por encima del 2,9 %– se ha visto impulsado por los temores del mercado a una reducción gradual demasiado pronta y rápida de la FC, y por la incertidumbre que rodea a la sucesión de Bernanke.

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