Según The Economist:
EUROPE is hardly bursting with optimism. Threats of different kinds, from coping with refugees to the prospect of “Brexit”, weigh on continental minds. For the first time in years, however, the euro zone’s economy is not foremost among the worries. It grew in 2015, for a second consecutive year; unemployment rates around the periphery are falling; and “Grexit” has again been averted. Yet some caution is in order. The euro-zone economy remains heavily dependent on exports for its growth. That is both an indicator of the incomplete nature of Europe’s recovery and a dangerous vulnerability.
Europe’s economic crisis was a stew with many ingredients, from spendthrift governments to inadequate safeguards in the banking system. The stock in which it all simmered, however, consisted of big imbalances in trade and capital flows. Economic integration encouraged high-saving households in slow-growing northern economies to ship their money to the periphery, where potential returns were higher. The flipside of that lending was a parallel imbalance in trade, as peripheral economies consumed more goods and services than they could produce themselves. On the eve of the global financial crisis, Germany was running a trade surplus of 2% of euro-area GDP, while Spain was running a deficit of 1% of euro-area GDP.
Such imbalances are not inherently bad: it makes sense for savings-rich countries to fund investment in poorer ones. Such investment, if sensibly used, should boost growth in the long run, making it easier to repay the debts. But in the euro area too much of the borrowed money paid for consumption or investment in bubbly property. When northern Europeans began pulling money out in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the periphery had to make an abrupt adjustment. Jobs that had relied on construction and booming domestic consumption evaporated. Investment collapsed amid financial panic and the wobbling of the euro-area banking system. Government spending also faced a squeeze, thanks to pressure from bond markets and austerity-minded politicians in other parts of the euro area. The best hope for peripheral economies was exports, to provide jobs for the jobless and to earn money to repay lenders.
Outside currency unions, rebalancing toward exports is made easier by exchange-rate movements: capital-flow reversals lead to depreciations that make exports cheaper in foreign markets. Yet within the euro area, depreciation was not an option, and no peripheral economy was willing to risk the financial chaos that would have resulted from dropping out of the single currency. Even so, rebalancing could have been made easier if northern Europe, and especially Germany, had shared in the adjustment.
Faster growth in wages might have boosted German consumption and investment while limiting how much wages in peripheral economies needed to fall to make export industries there more competitive. Yet German labour unions asked for only modest pay rises, despite low unemployment. By the same token, had the periphery been able to export more to the core, it would not have needed to slash imports so viciously. But from 2011 to 2015, German imports grew only slightly faster than those of the rest of the euro area, by 10% compared with 7%. Meanwhile, German exports rose faster still, by 17%.
In other words, stronger northern countries did not pick up much of the slack. Poor policy choices contributed to the feebleness of German domestic demand. In 2012 and 2013 German officials lobbied against looser monetary policy; while other big central banks launched asset-purchase programmes, the European Central Bank (ECB) dithered. The German government joined the continent’s fiscal austerity drive, closing the country’s budget gap even as Germany briefly sank back into recession. Instead, Germany relied on exports as the source of growth.
The rebalancing that has occurred within the euro area is therefore of an odd sort. The periphery has indeed leaned heavily on exports since the onset of the crisis—albeit more to the rest of the world than to other parts of the euro zone. That is because consumption has only grown relatively modestly, and investment scarcely at all, in Germany and the rest of the core. Instead, core and periphery alike have relied on international demand for their exports (see chart). Between 2011 and 2015 the euro area’s trade surplus rose from just 0.1% of euro-zone GDP to 3.7%. Even last year, as emerging economies slowed and as Germany enjoyed its lowest unemployment rate in decades, German net exports contributed about as much to the rise in euro-area GDP as German household spending did.
When you’re not strong
It may seem churlish to moan about how the beleaguered euro zone found its way, at last, back to growth. But the dependence on foreign demand carries risks. It places a dangerous drag on recoveries elsewhere. America’s trade deficit grew in 2015 despite a spectacular fall in its imports of petroleum; trade subtracted 0.6 percentage points from American GDP growth last year. And Europe’s addiction to exports leaves it vulnerable to any deceleration in global growth. Were China’s economy to slow more sharply, or America’s to return to recession, Europe, too, would see growth wane.
Most importantly, exports’ starring role in European growth reveals the pitiful weakness of other elements of the euro zone’s economy. Take away the growth, of nearly a percentage point, attributable to trade, and Europe’s nominal GDP rose by just 2% last year. The ECB’s frantic easing has been sufficient to push down the euro, and thus to boost exports, but not enough to perk up wages or inflation. It is no wonder, then, that consumption is not pulling its weight. Government spending and investment could boost domestic demand directly, but governments in the euro zone remain committed to a course of austerity, despite extraordinarily low government-bond yields. The euro area’s weak and distorted recovery is a danger. It is not too late for the fiscal and monetary boost needed to get a real boom going.
PD1: En desempleo, salvo en España y Grecia, hay una Buena convergencia:
No hay inflación:
Gracias a la bajada de la energía:
Y a la depresión de ciertos países:
Hay mucha disparidad entre países ricos y pobres:
La venta de coches se ha casi recuperado:
Pero se crece menos del 2%:
Alemania a conseguido volver a producir lo mismo que antes, mientras otros se han quedado muy rezagados:
Es un problema de la industria de ciertos países que se menguado mucho:
Por un problema de competitividad:
Unos sufrieron más que otros el boom de los 2000:
Se hicieron muchas tonterías:
Que ahora hay que pagar…
Demasiada dependencia con el sector de la construcción:
PD2: El Evangelio no es una ley que nos oprime. Alguna vez hemos podido caer en la tentación de pensar que los que no son cristianos están más tranquilos que nosotros y hacen lo que quieren, mientras que nosotros tenemos que cumplir una lista de mandamientos. Esto es una visión de las cosas meramente superficial. El Evangelio es una buena nueva, una feliz noticia, que nos llene el corazón de alegría y consuelo.
La enseñanza de Jesús es por supuesto exigente. El Evangelio no es otra cosa que la revelación de la ternura de Dios, de la misericordia de Dios con cada uno de sus hijos, y señala las leyes de la vida que llevan a la felicidad. El centro de la vida cristiana es acoger con reconocimiento la ternura y la bondad de Dios, revelación de su amor misericordioso, y dejarse transformar por dicho amor.