En el blog de The Economist ayer publicaron una nota sobre una evaluación hecha por Moody’s respecto al margen fiscal que tienen 28 países desarrollados (en realidad 27 países más Hong Kong). La información está resumida en este cuadro:
The middle column indicates the room between a country’s current debt-to-GDP ratio and the maximum sustainable ratio, according to [Moody’s] analyis. And the right column indicates the maximum yield which, if sustained, will not result in a spiral of collapse (in which rising interest costs make debt less affordable, contributing to rising interest costs). One can quibble with the results; I’m sure there are many people who think markets would abandon America long before its debt-to-GDP ratio topped 200%. But the yield calculations are very interesting.
Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland already sport 10-year yields above the make-or-break level. Now, these yields don’t bring everything crashing down right away. They have to be sustained, so as to have an impact on actual debt costs as countries are forced to roll over existing debt as it comes due. Spanish yields have been above the critical threshold at times but have since fallen back below it.
I wouldn’t count on that remaining true, however well behaved Spain’s government is. Rising yields elsewhere will impact Spain—and other parts of the euro zone—in any number of ways. As Italian yields rise, debt costs for Spanish banks, which have substantial exposure to Italy, may also rise. That, in turn, will place more pressure on the sovereign’s borrowing costs. As the most troubled economies embrace austerity and plunge into recession, the growth outlook for their neighbours worsens, hitting the GDP side of the debt-to-GDP ratio and contributing to a deterioration in debt sustainability.
Dentro de este panorama gris, la nota se permite un tono jocoso y advierte que pareciera haber una tregua entre los mercados y los soberanos de la zona euro para pasar las fiestas con cierta tranquilidad… si las agencias de calificación de riesgo lo permiten.