Tanta relajación resulta difícil

NUEVA YORK – La decisión de la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos de emprender una tercera ronda de relajación cuantitativa –o RC3– ha planteado tres cuestiones importantes. ¿Conseguirá la RC3 hacer arrancar el anémico crecimiento económico del país? ¿Propiciará un aumento persistente de los activos de riesgo, en particular en los EE.UU. y otros mercados mundiales de valores? Por último, ¿serán sus efectos similares o diferentes en el crecimiento del PIB y en los mercados de valores?

Muchos sostienen ahora que el efecto de la RC3 en los activos de riesgo debería ser tan potente, si no más, como el de las RC1 y RC2 y la “Operación Giro”, el anterior programa de la Reserva Federal de compra de bonos. Al fin y al cabo, mientras que las rondas anteriores de relajación monetaria en los EE.UU. han ido acompañadas de un aumento persistente de los precios de las acciones, el tamaño y la duración de la RC3 son mayores, pero, pese al impresionante compromiso de la Reserva Federal con una enérgica relajación monetaria, sus efectos en la economía real y en los valores de los EE.UU. podrían muy bien ser menores y más fugaces que las rondas anteriores de RC.

Tengamos en cuenta, en primer lugar, que las anteriores rondas de RC se produjeron en momentos de cotizaciones de las acciones y dividendos muy inferiores. En marzo de 2009, el índice S&P 500 había bajado hasta los 660 puntos, los dividendos por acción  de las empresas y los bancos de los EE.UU. habían llegado hasta el punto más bajo de la crisis financiera y las proporciones precios/dividendos se expresaban con una sola cifra. Actualmente, el S&P 500 supera el 100 por ciento (ronda los 1.430 puntos), los dividendos por acción se acercan por término medio a los 100 dólares y la proporción precios/dividendos es superior a 14.

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