¿Sale ganando China con los problemas de Estados Unidos?

NUEVA YORK – En sus esfuerzos por que se aprobara un plan de rescate del sistema financiero estadounidense, la administración Bush y sus autoridades invocaron el espectro de la Gran Depresión de 1930. Sin embargo, para la mayoría de los asiáticos el Armagedón económico es mucho más reciente.

La crisis financiera asiática de hace una década puso de rodillas a bancos, corporaciones y gobiernos. La chispa que encendió la hoguera fue el colapso del baht tailandés en el verano de 1997. Pronto el contagio barrió el Este asiático, y los efectos perniciosos de las devaluaciones en serie llegaron a países tan lejanos como Rusia y Brasil. Fue el punto final de los prolongados "milagros económicos" de Corea del Sur y Hong Kong, así como del fuerte crecimiento en Indonesia y Tailandia.

La lección central que dejó esa crisis fue mantener grandes reservas en moneda extranjera, que se convirtió en un virtual artículo de fe entre los gobiernos del Este asiático. En los años 90, las economías de rápido crecimiento de Asia mantenían pequeñas reservas, a pesar de las crecientes exportaciones y la inversión extranjera. Una vez que comenzó la caída en espiral en 1997, la falta de reservas de los gobiernos limitó su capacidad de rescatar los bancos afectados, obligándolos a recurrir a instituciones internacionales.

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