Beijing stadium.

La Chine aux prises avec le piége dette-déflation

HONG KONG – Les secousses qui ont affecté l'économie chinoise ont été suivies par des ventes boursières massives. Aussi la Réserve fédérale américaine vient-elle de reporter la hausse de ses taux d'intérêt. La Chine est confrontée maintenant à l'énorme défi que représente le piége dette-déflation un peu partout dans le monde.

En 1933, Irving Fisher a été le premier à pointer les dangers liés au surendettement et à la déflation en montrant que ces deux facteurs ont contribué à la Grande dépression aux USA. Quarante ans plus tard, Charles Kindleberger a donné un caractère général à la théorie de Fisher en soulignant les problèmes qui se posent en l'absence de politiques monétaires, budgétaires et régulatoires  coordonnées au niveau international, ainsi qu'en l'absence d'un prêteur de dernier recours à ce même niveau. En 2011, s'appuyant sur le cas du Japon, Richard Koo a analysé les risques d'une "récession prolongée du bilan" quand un pays surendetté tente de redresser son bilan.

Le cycle dette-déflation est amorcé par un déséquilibre ou par les conséquences imprévues de certaines mesures qui alimentent une exubérance irrationnelle, le surendettement et la spéculation. Il se termine par l'éclatement d'une bulle, avec la liquidation procyclique d'une capacité de production excessive et d'une dette, ce qui entraîne déflation des prix, chômage et stagnation économique. Cela peut aboutir à une dépression sévère.

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