USA : une rechute de l'économie ?

L'hiver dernier, la Banque centrale des USA, la Réserve fédérale (Fed), affichait sa satisfaction. La récession s'atténuant, la baisse des taux d'intérêt à 1,75% semblait donner des résultats encourageants. Même si l'on croyait moins à l'impact des nouvelles technologies sur la productivité et sur les profits et malgré la panique provoquée par l'attentat contre le World Trade Center, on pensait que l'économie américaine allait redémarrer : emprunter à 1,75% était une occasion à ne pas laisser passer.

Mais ces espoirs se sont effondrés au printemps avec la chute d'Enron, de WorldCom et d'Arthur Endersen. Soudain, plus personne n'a cru dans l'exactitude des comptes des sociétés américaines et l'on a réalisé combien le dispositif de contrôle des entreprises s'est détérioré durant la bulle des années 90.

En trois mois, la bourse américaine a chuté de 15 à 20%. Le différentiel entre le taux d'intérêt auquel le gouvernement américain pouvait emprunter et celui auquel les entreprises américaines pouvaient emprunter s'est élargi. Soudain, la Réserve fédérale a cessé de s'autocongratuler ; un taux d'intérêt de 1,75% permet sans doute de relancer l'économie quand le Dow-Jones affiche 10.000 points, mais pas quand il se retrouve à 8500 points.

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