China foreign exchange Zhang Chunlei/ZumaPress

Les bourdes du commerce extérieur chinois

BERKELEY – Le 11 août, la Chine a dévalué sa monnaie de 2% et a modestement réformé son système de taux de change. Cet événement n'a rien eu de stupéfiant, mais les marchés financiers y ont répondu comme si une météorite les avait frappés. Cette réaction négative est facile à comprendre : la dévaluation de la Chine est un cas d'école sur la mauvaise manière de mener une politique de change.

Une des motivations du gouvernement a sans doute été de donner un coup de pouce à l'économie de la Chine, en cours de ralentissement. Bien que le secteur des services, qui représente la majorité des emplois, se maintienne relativement bien, la production du pays de marchandises échangeables, dont une grande partie est produite pour l'exportation, a fortement diminué. Les exportateurs chinois sont pris entre la faiblesse de la demande étrangère et l'augmentation rapide des salaires nationaux.

La dévaluation est un remède qui a fait ses preuves pour traiter ces sortes de maux. Mais une variation de 2% de la valeur de la monnaie est trop faible pour faire une grosse différence, étant donné que les salaires de l'industrie chinoise augmentent à un taux annuel de 10%.

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