Le jour du Jugement est-il arrivé pour le dollar ?

Aux Etats-Unis, le déficit de la balance courante a atteint 5,7 % du PIB au deuxième trimestre 2004. Pourtant, le dollar est toujours relativement fort : moins de 20 % en dessous des pointes du début 2001 et plus de 10 % plus haut, en valeur réelle, que du début au milieu des années 90.

A mesure de l'augmentation du déficit, au cours des cinq dernières années, les économistes internationaux se sont succédé pour prédire le pire : le rendement des placements effectués aux Etats-Unis est plutôt faible et donc à un moment ou un autre - probablement tout d'un coup - les détenteurs de titres libellés en dollars vont se rendre compte que leurs risques ne sont pas suffisamment compensés. Quand les investisseurs de portefeuille se mettront à vendre, ce sera la débandade, l'effondrement du dollar et la première crise financière mondiale de grande envergure du XXIe siècle.

Pour Fred Bergsten, de l'Institute for International Economics, c'est un désastre qui s'annonce. Où s'arrêtera la chute du dollar ? Historiquement, on compte environ 10 % [???] pour chaque 1 % de PIB du déficit non viable de la balance courante. On sait aussi que les monnaies qui perdent de la valeur ont tendance à dépasser les attentes : avant de toucher le fond, les spéculateurs internationaux exigent une prime de risque importante, de crainte que l'effondrement de la monnaie ne déclenche un phénomène encore plus grave.

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