Paul Lachine

Les implications mondiales de la chute des cours des matières premières

NEW YORK – Le boom des prix des matières premières qui durait depuis une décennie a pris fin, entraînant de graves conséquences pour la croissance du PIB mondial. Et, même si les modèles économiques ne se reproduisent pas exactement, la fin de la phase ascendante du super-cycle des matières premières que le monde a connue depuis le début des années 2000 affaiblit considérablement, pour les pays en développement, les perspectives de poursuite d’un rattrapage rapide des niveaux de revenus des pays avancés.

Au cours de l'année se terminant en juillet, l'indice des prix des matières premières publié par le The Economist a chuté de 16,5% en termes de dollars (22,4% en euros), alors que les prix des métaux n’ont cessé de chuter pendant plus de deux ans, depuis leur sommet atteint au début de 2011. Alors que les prix alimentaires avaient initialement fait preuve d’une plus grande résilience, ils ont baissé plus fortement que ceux des autres matières premières au cours de l'année écoulée. Seuls les prix du pétrole restent élevés (quoique volatiles), certainement en raison des événements politiques complexes au Moyen-Orient.

D’un point de vue historique, ceci n'est pas surprenant, comme le montre notre recherche sur les super-cycles de matières premières. Depuis la fin du XIXe siècle, les cours des matières premières ont connu trois cycles de long terme et la phase ascendante d'un quatrième, liés principalement aux variations de la demande mondiale. Les deux premiers cycles ont été relativement longs (près de quatre décennies), mais le troisième était plus court (28 ans).

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