Paul Lachine

Le pari que la Chine va perdre

LONDRES – Je suis allé deux fois en Chine ces derniers temps, au moment où le gouvernement lançait son 12° plan quinquennal destiné à rééquilibrer le modèle de croissance à long terme du pays. Ces visites ont confirmé mon idée qu'il y a une contradiction potentiellement déstabilisatrice entre les résultats économiques de la Chine à court et à moyen terme.

L'économie chinoise est actuellement en surchauffe, mais à long terme ses surinvestissements auront des conséquences déflationnistes à la fois sur le plan intérieur et extérieur. Quand il ne sera plus possible d'augmenter les investissements fixes, probablement après 2013, la Chine connaîtra sans doute un fort ralentissement. Au lieu de se focaliser sur une légère baisse de la croissance aujourd'hui, les responsables chinois feraient mieux de se préoccuper du coup d'arrêt brutal qui pourrait l'affecter durant la deuxième partie du plan quinquennal.

Malgré la rhétorique qui entoure ce plan (comme les précédents il vise à augmenter la part de la consommation dans le PIB), le chemin de moindre résistance reste le statu quo. Si on examine le plan quinquennal dans les détails, on constate que la croissance va continuer à reposer sur les investissements (notamment dans le logement social), plutôt que sur une appréciation plus rapide du yuan, des transferts fiscaux en faveur des ménages, la taxation et/ou la privatisation des entreprises publiques, la libéralisation du système d'enregistrement des familles (hukou) et la libéralisation de la politique financière.

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