Chalice grapes European chair akahawkeyefan/Flickr

Le calice empoisonné de la croissance en Europe

CAMBRIDGE – Après une récession à double creux et une longue période de stagnation, la zone euro voit enfin des signes de reprise. La confiance des consommateurs est en hausse. Les ventes au détail et les nouvelles immatriculations de voitures sont en hausse. La Commission européenne prévoit une croissance de 1,3% cette année, ce qui n’est pas mauvais par rapport aux normes européennes. Mais cela pourrait être très mauvais pour les réformes européennes.

Il n’est pas compliqué de voir pourquoi la croissance a repris. La raison la plus évidente est l’annonce par la Banque centrale européenne à la fin janvier d’un programme d'achats d'actifs – assouplissement quantitatif – ambitieux. Cette perspective a entraîné une baisse rapide du taux de change de l'euro, ce qui a amélioré la compétitivité internationale des produits européens.

Néanmoins, la dépréciation de l'euro est trop récente pour avoir déjà fait une grande différence. Les données historiques, sans mentionner l'expérience du Japon au prise avec un yen en chute libre, suggèrent qu'il faut plusieurs trimestres, voire des années, avant que se fasse sentir l'impact positif de la dépréciation de la monnaie sur les exportations nettes.

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