Opciones Monetarias en la Economía Actual

Tras la crisis de Asia y de sus repercusiones mundiales, incluido el derrumbre de los tipos de cambio controlados en Rusia y Brasil, se ha suscitado un animado debate sobre las alternativas cambiarias que pueden asegurar la estabilidad macroeconómica. Las únicas eficaces aparentemente se reducen a una opción entre sistemas en los que el tipo de cambio está rigurosamente fijo y sirve como ancla y aquéllos en los que, aunque el tipo de cambio flota libremente, el banco central fija una meta de inflación baja y luego hace todo lo posible por alcanzarla.

Los sistemas de tasas rigurosamente fijas se usaron en la dura luch antinflacionaria de las dos últimas décadas en muchos mercados emergentes, sobre todo en América Latina. Estas anclas permitieron reducir la inflación e inclusive sofocar la hiperinflación. Con la caída de la inflación se buscó mayor discrecionalidad en el manejo del tipo de cambio, aumentando así la tendencia hacia los sistemas intermedios, incluido los tipos de cambios controlados (tasas fijas pero ajustables), bandas cambiarias, la paridad móvil, y las tasas preanunciadas (“tablitas”). Estos regímenes, sin embargo, sufrieron un serio traspié con la crisis financiera de los últimos años y, desde entonces, opciones que antes se consideraban extremas han adquirido nueva notoriedad.

Parecería que los paises ahora prefieren nuevamente asegurar un tipo de cambio totalmente fijo a través de mecanismos institucionales que lo garanticen, o adoptar un tipo de cambio flexible, absteniéndose las autoridades de intervenir en el mercado de divisas. En la primera opción - la que fortalece el sistema de tasas fijas - se incluyen las cajas de conversión (al estilo argentino), la adopción de una moneda regional común (el caso del euro) y, por supuesto, la dolarización total, como en el caso de Panama y el más reciente experimento ecuatoriano.

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