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L'économie socialiste de marché ou les contradictions chinoises

LONDRES – L'année 2016 s'est achevée avec des prévisions de croissance et d'inflation en légère hausse au niveau mondial. Cela traduit en partie l'attente d'une nouvelle stimulation budgétaire majeure aux USA lorsque Trump accédera à la présidence. Or du fait de sa puissance, l'économie chinoise joue un rôle tout aussi important, notamment en raison d'une production industrielle vigoureuse qui alimente la hausse du prix des matières premières un peu partout dans le monde.

Cet élan économique a démenti les prévisions selon lesquelles le boom du crédit en Chine s'arrêterait fin 2016. Ce boom est vieux de sept ans durant lesquels le taux dette/PIB a fait un bond de 150% à 250% Certains investisseurs occidentaux avaient prévu une crise bancaire du fait du volume des dettes irrécupérables, et d'autres s'attendaient à ce que le président Xi Jinping, après avoir consolidé sa position politique, fasse des réformes économiques structurelles. Mais presque tous les économistes, à l'exception des chinois, s'attendaient à un ralentissement significatif qui renforcerait les tendances déflationnistes à travers le monde.

Mais la réalité a été à l'opposé. L'endettement de l'Etat central et des autorités locales a augmenté : les banques classiques et les banques de l'ombre ont accordé de plus en plus de crédit, tandis que la Banque populaire de Chine (BPC) a augmenté ses prêts directs aux banques nationalisées dans une manoeuvre qui s'apparente au financement monétaire des dépenses publiques.

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