Que viva la desaceleración de China

NEW HAVEN – El crecimiento anual del PIB chino de 7.7% durante el primer trimestre de este año fue inferior a lo que muchos preveían. Si bien los datos no son dramáticos con respecto a las previsiones generales de un crecimiento de 8.2%, muchos analistas (me incluyo) pronosticábamos una recuperación por segundo trimestre consecutivo de la desaceleración que parecía haber acabado en el tercer trimestre de 2012. En todo el mundo, los que mantienen dudas sobre el desempeño de China rápidamente aprovecharon los datos para expresar sus temores de una paralización e incluso de una recaída.

Aunque en realidad un menor crecimiento del PIB es bueno para China, siempre que refleje la transformación estructural desde hace tiempo esperada de la economía más dinámica del mundo. Las líneas generales de esta transformación se conocen muy bien –un cambio del modelo de crecimiento encabezado por las exportaciones e inversiones hacia una estructura económica que se basa más en el consumo privado interno. Pero lo que se conoce menos es el hecho de que una China reequilibrada tendrá una tasa de crecimiento menor –cuyas primeras señales pueden ya ser evidentes.

Una China reequilibrada puede generar un crecimiento más lento por una razón muy sencilla: al apoyarse más en una demanda de consumo encabezada por los servicios, el nuevo modelo chino adoptará una receta de crecimiento de mano de obra intensiva. Las cifras parecen confirmarlo. El sector servicios chino necesita más o menos 35% más de empleos por unidad de PIB que en los sectores de manufactura y construcción –los principales motores del viejo modelo.

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