¿Continuarán los buenos tiempos para Brasil?

WASHINGTON, DC - Estos son los mejores tiempos de Brasil. El país se ha convertido en líder indiscutible de América Latina y un jugador clave a nivel global. Su economía fue de las primeras en recuperarse con fuerza de la reciente crisis financiera, y desde entonces ha mantenido un crecimiento impresionante. La pobreza se ha reducido drásticamente y la desigualdad de los ingresos está disminuyendo a medida que crece la clase media. Y, gracias al descubrimiento de vastas reservas de petróleo en alta mar, Brasil no sólo se ha vuelto autosuficiente en materia energética, sino que está a punto de convertirse en un importante exportador de petróleo.

Sin embargo, a pesar de todas las buenas noticias, los brasileños deberían preocuparse, porque los buenos tiempos durarán sólo si Brasil aborda una serie de retos crecientes de política económica. Algunos tienen relación con problemas de corto plazo, mientras otros son más bien de mediano plazo.

En el corto plazo, es prevenir el sobrecalentamiento económico: el crecimiento anual del PIB real superó el 10% en 2010, debido a políticas de expansión fiscal y monetaria y a términos de intercambio favorables. Es necesario asegurar que la demanda interna se desacelere a un ritmo más sostenible, para moderar la presión alcista sobre los precios que amenaza la credibilidad del marco de políticas monetarias y objetivos de inflación; de hecho, en abril el índice de inflación al consumidor a 12 meses estuvo por sobre el límite superior de la banda de tolerancia del Banco Central. Asimismo, Brasil tiene que enfriar su recalentado mercado laboral y detener el deterioro de la balanza exterior (que ha oscilado desde un pequeño superávit a un déficit de más del 2% del PIB en los últimos tres años, a pesar de un gran aumento en los términos de intercambio).

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