La déflation et son marasme

CAMBRIDGE – Aux Etats-Unis et dans de nombreux autres grands pays, le taux d’inflation est désormais proche de zéro. The Economist a récemment publié un reportage indiquant que les économistes interrogés prévoyaient une chute générale des prix à la consommation aux Etats-Unis et au Japon pour 2009, tandis que l’inflation dans la zone euro ne serait que de 0,6 %. La Corée du Sud, Taiwan et la Thaïlande accuseront aussi une baisse du niveau des prix à la consommation.

La chute des prix en perspective reflète l'écroulement de la production industrielle, le taux de chômage très élevé qui en découle et la baisse spectaculaire du prix des matières premières. Dans les pays au taux d’inflation négatif, le recul de la production industrielle est supérieur à 10 %. En outre, l’indice des prix à la consommation sur toutes les marchandises a subi une baisse de plus de 30 % au cours de l’année dernière.

L’éventualité de la déflation est une question sérieuse car la chute des prix – et la perspective de les voir chuter davantage – ferait empirer la récession du moment de trois manières différentes.

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