Une Chine qui se porte bien

NEW HAVEN – Plusieurs s’inquiètent de plus en plus de la trajectoire descendante de l’économie de la Chine qui pourrait se terminer par un atterrissage brutal. Les marchés boursiers chinois ont chuté de 20 % depuis un an, à des cours que l’on n’avait vus qu’en 2009. La faiblesse des données récentes – allant des indices de confiance des directeurs d’achat à la production industrielle jusqu’aux données de ventes au détail et des exportations – a haussé le niveau d’inquiétude. Ils craignent sans doute que la Chine, longtemps le moteur le plus puissant de l’économie mondiale, soit à court de carburant.

Ces inquiétudes sont exagérées. Il est vrai que l’économie de la Chine s’est refroidie. Mais le ralentissement a été contenu et il le restera probablement dans un avenir rapproché. Le scénario d’un atterrissage en douceur demeure donc le plus plausible.

Les caractéristiques d’un atterrissage d’urgence de l’économie chinoise sont bien connues depuis la grande récession de 2008-2009. La croissance annuelle du PIB de la Chine a nettement ralenti de son sommet de 14,8 % du deuxième trimestre 2007 à 6,6 % au premier trimestre 2009. Frappée de front par un choc d’envergure sismique sur la demande extérieure qui a fait tomber le commerce mondial de 10,5 % en 2009, la croissance de la Chine dépendante des exportations est passée subitement de la surchauffe à l’ère glaciaire. Les autres pans d’une économie chinoise déséquilibrée ont vite emboîté le pas – surtout le marché du travail, qui s’est départi de plus de 20 millions d’emplois dans la seule province de Guangdong.

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