La lección de Lehman

HONG KONG – Cuando el banco de inversión estadounidense Lehman Brothers quebró hace cinco años, las economías de los mercados emergentes no tenían en su poder muchos de los activos financieros tóxicos -principalmente hipotecas norteamericanas de alto riesgo- que alimentaron la crisis financiera global que sobrevino después. Pero resultaron profundamente afectadas por el colapso del comercio mundial, que registró una caída de máximo a mínimo de por lo menos el 15%, a la vez que las líneas de crédito para operaciones comerciales se contrajeron marcadamente, debido a una escasez de liquidez de dólares. ¿Los responsables de las políticas económicas han respondido de manera apropiada desde entonces?

Poco después de que estallara la crisis, los países del G-20 adoptaron paquetes de estímulo robustos, políticas monetarias no convencionales en las economías avanzadas e importantes esfuerzos institucionales, como la legislación sobre reforma financiera Dodd-Frank en Estados Unidos y la iniciativa de Basilea III para fortalecer las normas bancarias. El paquete de estímulo de 4 billones de yuanes de China, dado a conocer en noviembre de 2008, restauró la confianza en los mercados de materias primas globales. Impulsados por un fuerte crecimiento chino, los mercados emergentes se estabilizaron.

Desde 2009, el alivio cuantitativo (QE por su sigla en inglés) de la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos hizo que las tasas de interés alcanzaran niveles mínimos sin precedentes en todo el mundo. Pero, si bien el incremento resultante de los flujos de capital hacia los mercados emergentes estimuló el crecimiento económico, también infló las burbujas de activos.

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