La imposible fuerza del dólar débil

Hasta 1997, el déficit en cuenta corriente de Estados Unidos era relativamente pequeño, apenas el 1% del PIB. Desde entonces, el déficit ha crecido dramáticamente, a 2.7% del PIB en 1999, 3.5% en 2001, y se estima que llegará al 4.7% este año. Hay que esperar más de lo mismo en 2004, cuando el déficit en cuenta corriente habrá de llegar al 5.1% del PIB, a pesar de los pronósticos de que la economía de los EU crecerá significativamente más rápido que la de la mayoría de sus socios comerciales.

¿Cuánto tiempo más seguirá el mundo financiando el déficit externo de Estados Unidos? ¿Qué pasará cuando deje de hacerlo?

Es claro que el déficit en cuenta corriente de Estados Unidos es insostenible. Como solía decir el economista Herb Stein, asesor del presidente Richard Nixon, si algo es insostenible, entonces algún día acabará. Yo pensaba que el déficit en cuenta corriente de los EU acabaría cuando el resto del mundo se "equilibrara" (cuando Japón se recuperara de su estancamiento de una década, y cuando Europa occidental restructurara su economía, estimulando la demanda agregada y reduciendo su tasa de desempleo a un nivel razonable). Pero con cada año que pasa, el "equilibrio" (un crecimiento rápido en el resto del mundo que impulse la demanda por exportaciones de los EU) se ha hecho cada vez menos probable.

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