La stérilisation monétaire de la Chine

PEKIN – Peu après que le Conseil de la Réserve Fédérale américaine ait annoncé sa seconde vague de « quantitative easing » (connue sous le nom de QE2), la People’s Bank of China (PBC), la banque centrale chinoise, a annoncé deux augmentations de 0,5 points de pourcentage du ratio de réserves obligatoires (RRR) des dépôts bancaires. Le RRR s’élève à présent à 18,5%, un pic historique, même en terme global.

Alors que la Fed prévoit d’injecter plus de monnaie dans l’économie américaine, la PBC tente de réduire la quantité de monnaie en circulation en Chine. La monnaie utilisée par les banques commerciales pour satisfaire le RRR, détenue en compte à la PBC, ne peut plus être prêtée. En conséquence, il y a aujourd’hui plus de monnaie gelée ou inactive en Chine que jamais auparavant.

Il est compréhensible que la Fed veuille promouvoir la demande tant que l’économie américaine demeure déprimée. Mais pourquoi la PBC a-t-elle autant resserré sa politique monétaire ? L’économie chinoise n’est pas en train de surchauffer. La croissance est encore élevée, à environ 10% par an, mais a commencé à se modérer. Et, bien que l’inflation soit une préoccupation – ayant atteint 4,4% sur un an en octobre, contre 3,6% en septembre – ceci ne peut expliquer pourquoi la PBC avait déjà augmenté le RRR à trois reprises cette année, lorsque l’inflation était plus basse.

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