Le Puzzle du taux des changes chinois

La décision soudaine de la Chine de relever la valeur du renminbi (yuan) de 2,1 % et de mettre fin au rattachement de sa monnaie au dollar américain intervient après des mois de pressions américaines. La réévaluation sera probablement l’affaire d’une seule intervention et la liberté de mouvement du yuan n’est probablement pas véritable, car la Chine a tout intérêt à conserver une monnaie stable.

En effet, l’économiste Robert Mundell, dont les travaux sur les zones monétaires optimales sont à l’origine des travaux théoriques qui ont mené à la création de l’euro, insiste sur le fait que la Chine devrait conserver son taux de change fixe comme un élément nécessaire à sa phase de développement économique actuelle. Cependant, du fait de la structure asymétrique de l’économie chinoise, son régime de taux de change présente des problèmes bien plus corsés que ceux rencontrés par le Japon et d’autres économies d’Asie de l’Est.

Les taux de change rattachés ont clairement joué un rôle essentiel dans le décollage économique de l’Asie de l’Est, car ils ont bien fonctionné avec le modèle de développement de la région, axé sur l’exportation.  Mais l’efficacité d’un taux de change lié est déterminée par la manière dont le développement du secteur des exportations influence les industries intérieures et l’économie nationale dans son ensemble. Si la croissance des échanges relance les secteurs industriels intérieurs qui ne font pas partie du secteur des échanges, un taux de change fixe ne met alors aucune pression sur la balance des paiements extérieure puisque la demande de produits importés augmente.

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