Por qué el capital fluye cuesta arriba

LONDRES.– Al principio parece difícil de entender: el capital mundial fluye de los países pobres a los ricos. Los países con mercados emergentes generan superávits de cuenta corriente y las economías avanzadas, déficits. Uno esperaría que los países (jóvenes) en desarrollo, con rápido crecimiento y escasez de capital lo importasen del resto del mundo para financiar su consumo y su inversión. ¿Qué hacen entonces enviando capital a los países más ricos en lugar de importarlo?

China es un claro ejemplo. Con un superávit de cuenta corriente que promedió el 5,5% de su PBI en 2000-2008, China se ha convertido en uno de los mayores prestamistas mundiales. A pesar de su rápido crecimiento y promisorias oportunidades de inversión, el país ha enviado continuamente una porción significativa de sus ahorros al extranjero.

Y China no está sola. Otros mercados emergentes –incluidos Brasil, Rusia, India, México, Argentina, Tailandia, Indonesia, Malasia, y los países exportadores de petróleo del Medio Oriente– han aumentado significativamente sus superávits de cuenta corriente desde principios de la década de 1990. En forma colectiva, los países en desarrollo con escaso capital están prestando a las economías avanzadas que lo poseen en abundancia.

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