Roller coaster and sunset.

Les montagnes russes des matières premières

CAMBRIDGE – Le super-cycle mondial des matières premières n’est pas un phénomène nouveau. Bien que les détails varient, les exportateurs de matières premières ont tendance à jouer la même pièce et les résultats économiques ont tendance à suivre des modèles reconnaissables. Cependant, l'élément de prévisibilité de la trajectoire suivie par le cycle des matières premières, tout comme dans le cas des montagnes russes, ne rend pas ses rebondissements plus faciles à supporter.

Depuis la fin du 18e siècle, il y a eu sept ou huit booms des prix des matières premières hors pétrole, par rapport au prix des produits manufacturés. (Le nombre exact dépend de la façon dont les pics et les creux sont définis.) Les booms ont typiquement duré 7-8 ans, bien que celui qui a commencé en 1933 ait duré près de deux décennies. Cette exception a été soutenue en premier lieu par la Seconde Guerre mondiale, suivie par la reconstruction d'après-guerre en Europe et au Japon, ainsi que par la croissance économique rapide aux États-Unis. Le boom le plus récent, qui a commencé en 2004 et s’est terminé en 2011, est davantage conforme à la norme.

Les phases descendantes des cours des matières premières – pouvant représenter des chutes dépassant 30% – ont une durée similaire, environ sept ans en moyenne. La baisse en cours en est maintenant à sa quatrième année et les prix des matières premières hors pétrole (par rapport au prix à l'exportation des produits manufacturés) ont jusqu'ici chuté d'environ 25%.

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