Bretton Woods III

SINGAPUR – Muchos analistas y observadores creen que los desequilibrios globales que caracterizaron a la economía mundial en los años anteriores a la crisis de 2008 esencialmente se disiparon. Pero, si bien es cierto que los excedentes de cuenta corriente de China y los déficits de Estados Unidos de alguna manera se moderaron desde entonces, ¿los desequilibrios realmente se corrigieron? Más importante aún, ¿la economía global post-crisis puede experimentar crecimiento y equilibrio a la vez?

Para responder estos interrogantes, es importante entender la dinámica subyacente de los desequilibrios. La cuenta corriente de un país es la diferencia entre su tasa de inversión y su tasa de ahorro. En 2007, Estados Unidos tenía una tasa de ahorro del 14,6% del PBI, pero una tasa de inversión del 19,6%, lo que generó un déficit de cuenta corriente. Por el contrario, China tenía una tasa de inversión fija del 41,7% del PBI y una tasa de ahorro del 51,9%, lo que se tradujo en un gran excedente.

Desde 2007, el déficit de cuenta corriente de Estados Unidos se achicó, pero no por una tasa de ahorro más elevada. Más bien, el déficit externo se vio restringido por un colapso de la actividad de inversión, mientras que la tasa de ahorro general de Estados Unidos cayó por debajo del 13% del PBI, debido a un empeoramiento de las finanzas gubernamentales. Mientras tanto, la tasa de ahorro de China sigue estancada en un nivel alto. El excedente se redujo porque la inversión subió incluso más, a aproximadamente al 49% del PBI. En otras palabras, los norteamericanos ahorran menos hoy que antes de que estallara la crisis, y los chinos invierten aún más.

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