La Fed subió las tasas entre 2,25% y 2,5%, pero rebaja a dos las alzas para 2019 – Clarín.com

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La Fed subió las tasas entre 2,25% y 2,5%, pero rebaja a dos las alzas para 2019 – Clarín.com

La Reserva Federal (Fed) de Estados Unidos desoyó las advertencias del presidente Donald Trump y elevó las tasas de interés, pero al mismo tiempo dio una señal de que disminuirá el ritmo de futuros aumentos por una posible desaceleración en la economía estadounidense.

La Fed subió el rango de tasas 0,25 puntos porcentuales –el cuarto aumento en el año– y la coloca a un rango de 2,25- 2,5%, algo que los economistas daban casi por descontado, pero avisó que en el futuro será cuidadosa porque el año próximo, en principio, las subiría solo dos veces.

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El anuncio cayó mal en Wall Street: el Dow Jones cerró con pérdidas de 1,5%. Las decisiones del Banco Central estadounidense no solo generan impacto en la economía local, en los estadounidenses que tienen créditos y en las empresas endeudadas, sino también en el mundo emergente (entre ellos la Argentina) porque muchos países están endeudados en dólares y, además, los inversores se refugian en economías sólidas donde ofrecen tipos altos y seguros.

La decisión desagrada a Trump, que viene atacando desde hace tiempo a la Fed porque cree que el aumento enfría el actual crecimiento sostenido de la economía estadounidense. Pero en una conferencia de prensa luego del anuncio, el presidente de la Fed, Jerome Powell, aseguró que las “consideraciones políticas no tienen ningún papel” en las decisiones del organismo. “Nada nos disuadirá de hacer lo que creemos que es correcto”, añadió Powell.

El titular de la Reserva Federal Jerome Powell AP

El titular de la Reserva Federal Jerome Powell AP

Desde diciembre de 2015 el Banco Central ha subido ocho veces su principal tasa, llevándola a 2,50% tras casi ocho años en casi cero para ayudar a EE.UU. a salir de la Gran Recesión de 2008-2009. Esta política dio sus frutos y la economía se recuperó. De hecho, ahora crece a un ritmo de 3,5% anual, mientras que el desempleo cayó a niveles históricos de 3,7% y el consumo está pujante. La Fed entonces comenzó a elevar las tasas de forma sostenida para evitar que la economía se sobrecalentara y subiera la inflación más allá del 2% anual.

Pero en los últimos meses Estados Unidos enfrenta potenciales problemas que van desde los posibles efectos de las guerras comerciales de Trump hasta el enlentecimiento del crecimiento chino y las turbulencias que genera el divorcio entre Gran Bretaña y la Unión Europea (Brexit). Numerosas señales indican que el crecimiento económico estadounidense habría alcanzado su máximo. Esa percepción hizo tambalear a los mercados en las últimas semanas y Wall Street perdió lo ganado en el año.

Si embargo, Powell dijo que los temas que son observados como una amenaza “no han alterado fundamentalmente nuestras proyecciones”. Y resaltó que la economía de Estados Unidos “continúa en buena forma” y que por eso solo habían disminuido solo “modestamente” sus perspectivas. Al referirse a futuras alzas de tasas, el presidente de la Fed admitió que “hay un grado bastante alto de incertidumbre sobre el camino y el destino de cualquier aumento”.

Donald Trump presionó por twitter ala FED AP

Donald Trump presionó por twitter ala FED AP

El comité de política monetaria de la Fed (FOMC) divulgó también sus previsiones trimestrales. Advierten que el crecimiento se está moderando y, en consecuencia, consideran que en 2019 serían necesarios solo dos aumentos de tasas; siendo que antes preveían tres. De hecho, cinco integrantes de la Fed cambiaron su estimación y ahora esperan dos aumentos o menos en vez de los cuatro o más previstos.

La media del pronóstico de crecimiento del PBI para 2019 fue reducida a 2,3% desde 2,5% y una inflación por debajo de la meta de 2%. Pese a esa solidez del empleo, los salarios no han acelerado su crecimiento y los precios suben muy levemente lo cual elimina la presión por poner un freno a la marcha de la economía y entonces ya no será necesaria una política agresiva de suba de tasas. A más largo plazo, la Fed prevé que el crecimiento estadounidense seguirá desinflándose lentamente. Para 2020 se espera un aumento del PBI de 2% y de 1,8% para 2021. Trump prefería que la Fed hubiera hecho una pausa ahora para ayudarlo a impulsar el crecimiento de la economía. En su último ataque a la Fed en Twitter dijo que la entidad estará cometiendo “otro error” si subía los intereses.

Wall Street escucha el anuncio de la FED y cae AP

Wall Street escucha el anuncio de la FED y cae AP

Consultado por Clarín, Robert Scott, profesor de Economía de la Monmouth University, dijo que “haber elevado la tasa de interés es coherente con las declaraciones previas del presidente Powell sobre un aumento en diciembre y luego un poco menos en 2019. A la Reserva Federal le preocupa que si Estados Unidos llega a entrar en una recesión no tendrá una herramienta fácil (política monetaria) con la cual trabajar, a menos que las tasas sean lo suficientemente altas como para que una disminución pueda estimular el gasto. Como resultado, están aumentando las tasas para dar ese espacio”.

Respecto de si influyó la Casa Blanca sobre el Banco Central, Scott señaló que “la Fed no es sorda ni inmune a sus críticas; sin embargo, creo que está reaccionando de la manera que uno esperaría después de un largo período de bajas tasas de interés. La economía y el mercado de valores también están respondiendo de la manera que uno esperaría (se están contrayendo). Esta incertidumbre puede alimentar el pesimismo que luego crea una reducción en el endeudamiento y por lo tanto la demanda agregada, cae”. Para Scott, la suba de tasas tendrá impacto en los mercados emergentes porque “hacen que la deuda en dólares sea más costosa de pagar”. En el caso de la Argentina, señala que “no es una medida que ayude, pero un aumento de 0,25 puntos básicos no debería ser una carga suficiente para que se generen problemas importantes a largo plazo”.

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