La Chine et ses dollars

CAMBRIDGE – Quand la Chine comprendra-t-elle enfin qu’elle ne peut pas continuer indéfiniment à accumuler des dollars? Elle en détient déjà plus de 2 000 milliards. Les Chinois cherchent-ils réellement, d’ici cinq ou dix ans, à disposer de 4 000 milliards? Maintenant que les Etats-Unis contemplent les coûts à long terme du repêchage financier, outre ceux de la protection sociale qui augmentent inexorablement, les Chinois n’ont-ils pas intérêt à se souvenir de l’expérience que l’Europe a connue dans les années soixante-dix?

Dans les années cinquante et soixante, les Européens amassent une énorme réserve de bons du trésor américain, car ils s’efforcent de maintenir des taux de change fixes, un peu comme la Chine aujourd’hui. Mais dans les années soixante-dix, le financement de la guerre du Vietnam et la flambée des prix du pétrole achèvent d’amplifier l’inflation de manière désastreuse, et la capacité des Européens à acheter des dollars se réduit.

Les Chinois n’ont peut-être pas de souci à se faire. Les dirigeants du monde n’ont-ils pas dit, au sommet du G20 de Pittsburgh, qu’ils feraient tout leur possible pour éviter la répétition de ce phénomène? L’un des piliers sur lesquels repose leur stratégie de prévention n’est-il pas de corriger les “déséquilibres globaux,” cet euphémisme qui désigne l’énorme déficit commercial des Etats-Unis et les excédents qui lui répondent dans d’autres pays. Non des moindres parmi eux: la Chine.

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