Clouer les ailes de l’euro

L’appel du président français Nicolas Sarkozy aux banques centrales pour qu’elles interviennent afin de restreindre la flambée de l’euro est généralement considéré comme un signe qu’il ne comprend ni ne fait confiance aux marchés. D’ailleurs, certains voient aujourd’hui Sarkozy comme un gaulliste traditionnel qui compte aider les producteurs français en dévaluant l’euro de manière artificielle.

Sarkozy aurait-il raison de croire que les marchés des changes ne mènent pas automatiquement les taux de change à des niveaux cohérents avec les fondamentaux du commerce international ? Après tout, des biens comparables se vendent souvent à l’international à des prix très différents. Par exemple, selon The Economist , un hamburger Big Mac est vendu dans la zone euro autour de 3 euros (environ 4 $US au taux de change actuel) mais seulement 3,20 $US aux États-Unis, ce qui implique que l’euro est surévalué d’environ 25 %.

Il est clair, à voir les trois dernières décennies de monnaies flottantes, que les taux de change déterminés par le marché ont tendance à osciller largement et constamment par rapport à des niveaux de parité qui feraient vendre des biens comparables à des prix comparables dans des pays différents. Ainsi, des politiciens comme Sarkozy ont peut-être des raisons d’avancer que les banques centrales devraient intervenir pour limiter de telles oscillations.

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