Paul Lachine

Ben Bernanke face à la presse

CAMBRIDGE – Lors de la première et toute récente conférence de presse de la Réserve fédérale américaine, Ben Bernanke, son président, a défendu haut et fort ses achats en masse de bons du Trésor américain, le relâchement monétaire (le "quantitative easing" ou QE), une politique qui a été vertement critiquée. A-t-il été convaincant ?

La plupart des économistes considèrent qu'il a mené cette conférence de main de maître. Mais le fait que le dollar ait continué de dégringoler et le prix de l'or de grimper indique que les marchés font preuve d'un scepticisme à tout crin. L'une des plus grandes difficultés que rencontrent les banques centrales tient au fossé qu'il y a un entre le message qu'elles veulent faire passer aux investisseurs et ce que ces derniers en perçoivent.

La Fed a été contrainte de recourir au relâchement monétaire parce que les taux d'intérêt au jour le jour, l'outil normal pour ajuster l'inflation et la croissance, sont déjà au plus bas. Pourtant le redémarrage de l'économie américaine est difficile et s'accompagne d'un chômage obstinément élevé. On a accusé le relâchement monétaire de tous les maux, de la bulle des actifs, des émeutes de la faim, voire de l'impétigo. Tout le monde, des ministres des Finances étrangers aux caricaturistes en passant par Sarah Palin, s'en est pris à cette politique (à titre d'exemple vous pouvez regarder la vidéo Quantitative easing explained).

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