Renminbi stack of bills dollar Zhang Chunlei/ZumaPress

La Chine face à la stagnation séculaire

HONG KONG – La stagnation séculaire menace un peu partout dans le monde, y compris en Chine. Les mesures de stimulation budgétaire et monétaire adoptées par de nombreux pays après la crise financière de 2008 ont entraîné surendettement et hausse des prix de l'immobilier et des cours boursiers, alors même que le commerce et les investissements diminuaient. Tout cela a suscité une baisse de la demande, de la croissance et de l'inflation. En Chine, cela complique la tâche de l'Etat qui cherche à renforcer le rôle du marché dans l'économie. Dans ce contexte, la dernière mesure prise par les autorités (la dévaluation du yuan) sera-t-elle suffisante pour inverser cette tendance ?

Les dirigeants chinois paraissent disposés à allèger leur contrôle sur l'économie, indiquant ainsi au secteur privé qu'il doit s'adapter à la "nouvelle normalité" (une augmentation plus faible de la production), tandis que le pays entreprend des réformes structurelles pour parvenir à une croissance plus durable. Mais l'augmentation des risques - illustrée par le plongeon récent de la Bourse chinoise - a contraint le gouvernement à intervenir. Les incertitudes politiques et de la volatilité des marchés poussent les entreprises chinoises à se mettre en position d'attente plutôt que d'investir les importantes liquidités dont elles disposent, ce qui accroît la pression de la stagnation séculaire.

Même si elle est loin d'être tragique, la situation de la Chine constitue un défi. Bien que la croissance du PIB paraisse s'être stabilisée autour de 7%, presque tous les indicateurs économiques (le PIB nominal, les investissements dans les immobilisations, le nombre d'espaces commerciaux en construction, le chiffre d'affaires des ventes au détail, les ventes d'automobiles, la production d'électricité, le volume de marchandises transportées sur le rail, les importations de minerai de fer, etc.) augmentent bien moins que lors des quatre dernières années.

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