lunes, 8 de junio de 2009

Los Términos de Europa Central y del Este han dejado de Tener Sentido

Lukas Musil, un alumno mío en el posgrado del ITESM me ha realizado unos comentarios en un post que puse el miércoles 13 de mayo, ¿Cómo Afecta la Actual crisis a las Economías Europeas?, haciendo referencia a unreporte del FMI. Pero en particular discute la relevancia del término países de europa del este. Adicionalmente me envió una carta de un funcionario del banco central de la República Checa que en su momento se publico en el Financial Times y que me parece justo y útil reproducirla acá, (respetando los derechos del Financial Times)
Central and eastern European’ label has stopped making sensePublished:
February 26 2009 02:00 Last updated: February 26 2009 02:00
From Mr Mojmír Hampl.
Sir, In the last few days, some commentators have been suggesting that “central and eastern Europe” is on the brink of total economic disaster and that urgent region-wide help is needed.Alas, these commentators fail to notice that since the fall of communism 20 years ago (and also a long time before it) the various countries of the region have taken very different paths as regards economic policy.Some countries east of the Danube are suffering under the burden of huge franc-, dollar- or euro-denominated debts, accumulated either by the government or by the private sector, or both.They are seeing local bubbles in construction and other sectors turn into equally awesome busts now that cheap loans have become history. Massive current account deficits are colliding with misplaced fixed exchange rate regimes.But in the same region, there also happen to be countries whose policies and resulting fundamentals have been much better – in fact, on a par with those of many western European countries, or even better. Besides the eurozone members Slovenia and Slovakia, a prime example is the Czech Republic.True, the current crisis is having – and will continue to have – a visible impact on the country’s domestic production and employment. True, the public deficit is likely to worsen. True, the property market and mortgage lending have cooled somewhat. True, the weakening of the currency observed in recent months is no panacea because many exporters have hedged against its rise and so now they are losing.But the size of all these phenomena pales in comparison with what is happening or looming on the horizon in much of the rest of “central and eastern Europe”. The Czech economy simply is not in a situation of huge imbalances and macroeconomic instability, and the Czech households are not indebted in foreign currencies at all.It is no wonder that the particularly vulnerable countries in the region are calling for help for the region as a whole. In this way, they are hoping that the spotlight of the media and the markets will not focus so sharply on the biggest sinners.But it is equally no wonder if other countries in the region – those with relatively stable and well-managed economies – point out that they are playing against the crisis on a very different court and that their score is much better.Indeed, the Czech Republic started to appear on the helping side: its government has recently decided to provide a €200m non-interest-bearing loan to troubled Latvia.It is high time that the media realise that the label “central and eastern Europe” may be useful as a geographical expression, but as regards the economy, financial sector’s robustness and macroeconomic stability, it stopped making any sense a long time ago.

Mojmír Hampl,Vice-Governor,
Czech National Bank
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

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