Ricos y riesgosos

NUEVA YORK - Los enormes déficits fiscales y de la deuda pública están causando inquietud acerca del riesgo soberano de varias economías avanzadas. Tradicionalmente, el riesgo soberano se ha concentrado en las economías de los mercados emergentes. Después de todo, en la última década, Rusia, Argentina y Ecuador dejaron de pagar sus deudas públicas, mientras Pakistán, Ucrania y Uruguay las reestructuraron por la fuerza, amenazando con no pagarla de lo contrario.

Sin embargo, en gran parte -y con unas pocas excepciones en Europa Central y del Este- las economías de los mercados emergentes mejoraron su desempeño fiscal al reducir los déficits generales, tener grandes superávits primarios, disminuir la relación de deuda pública a PGB, y reducir las discrepancias entre la divisa y la madurez de su deuda pública. Como resultado, el riesgo soberano hoy es un mayor problema en las economías avanzadas que en la mayoría de los mercados emergentes.

De hecho, la baja en las escalas de las agencias calificadoras, la ampliación de los ‘spreads’ soberanos y el fracaso de la venta de bonos de deuda pública en países como el Reino Unido, Grecia, Irlanda y España fueron un fuerte recordatorio de que, a menos que las economías avanzadas comiencen a ordenar sus cuentas fiscales, los inversionistas, los actores atentos a los mercados de bonos y las agencias calificadoras pueden pasar de ser amigos a enemigos. La grave recesión, combinada con la crisis financiera de 2008-2009, debilitó las posiciones fiscales de los países desarrollados, debido al gasto destinado al estímulo, los menores ingresos tributarios, y el refuerzo y salvataje de sus sectores financieros.

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