Aidons la BCE à franchir le Rubicon !

PARIS – La planète financière et les gouvernements de la zone euro espèrent que le 22 janvier, lors de leur prochaine réunion de politique monétaire, les responsables de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE) écriront une page d'Histoire. On s'attend à ce que le président de la BCE, Mario Draghi, et ses collègues franchissent finalement le Rubicon et annoncent un programme d’assouplissement quantitatif (quantitative easing, QE) de grande ampleur - autrement dit d’achat massif d'obligations souveraines. Au contraire des autres grandes banques centrales la BCE s’est refusée pendant plus de cinq ans à cette décision, mais le membre français du directoire de la BCE, Benoît Coeuré, la qualifie maintenant d'option de référence.

De nombreuses raisons militent aujourd’hui en sa faveur : depuis deux ans l'inflation est en-dessous de sa valeur cible de 2% ; en novembre, la hausse des prix n’a été que de 0,3% sur un an ; la récente chute du prix du pétrole va accroître la pression à la baisse des prix ; et surtout, les anticipations d’inflation s'érodent : prévisionnistes et investisseurs s'attendent à ce qu’à moyen terme, celle-ci reste inférieure à sa valeur cible.

En soi, une inflation faible constitue un obstacle important au redémarrage de la zone euro et au rééquilibrage économique en son sein. Une franche déflation serait encore plus dangereuse.

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