¿Cuándo debe dejar China flotar su divisa?

Bajo una intensa presión de los Estados Unidos, los dirigentes de China han acordado en principio dejar flotar el renminbi, pero se niegan a decir cuándo lo harán. A medida que China liberaliza su mercado de capitales y elimina restricciones a los movimientos de capitales internacionales, resulta inevitable una divisa flotante; de lo contrario, China tendría que ceder el control de su masa monetaria y sus tipos de interés a los Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, los gobernantes de China hacen bien en aplazar esa decisión.

Pueden aplazarla, pero no pueden escapar a una ley económica fundamental: si el tipo de cambio entre las divisas de dos países es fijo y las corrientes de capitales entre ellos no están limitadas, el económicamente dominante ejercerá un control sobre la política monetaria del otro. Como el dólar es la divisa de reserva mundial y la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos controla la oferta de dólares estadounidenses, mientras China se ciña a un tipo de cambio fijo, no podrá controlar su propia masa monetaria.

La razón es sencilla. Si China intenta reducir su masa monetaria aumentando los tipos de interés, desencadenará un aumento correspondiente en la demanda de renminbi, pues el capital extranjero procura sacar ventaja de los tipos de interés más altos de los activos chinos. Para mantener el tipo de cambio fijo, el banco central chino tendría que compensar ese fenómeno aumentando la masa monetaria: lo contrario de lo que se propone hacer en primer lugar. Asimismo, cualquier intento de aumentar la masa monetaria reduciendo los tipos de interés fracasará, mientras el tipo de cambio entre el renminbi y el dólar siga siendo fijo.

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