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Une augmentation des taux d’intérêt boosterait-elle la croissance américaine ?

BERKELEY – Le PDG de Blackstone, Tony James, a récemment publié un article dans le Financial Times, intitulé « Augmentons les taux d’intérêt pour relancer l’économie américaine ». Il s’agit en réalité d’une très mauvaise idée.

Imaginons être transportés dans un monde parallèle, où la Réserve fédérale américaine ne maintiendrait pas des taux d’intérêts nuls ou proches de zéro. Dans cet univers parallèle, la Fed aurait préféré depuis six ans rehausser progressivement les taux d’intérêt, et le taux cible des fonds fédéraux se situerait désormais 400 points de base au-dessus de celui que nous connaissons dans le monde réel. Mais avant de nous pencher sur ce à quoi ressemblerait l’économie dans cet univers fictif, intéressons-nous à ce qu’il s’est produit dernièrement dans le monde réel.

Au quatrième trimestre 2015, les ménages, les entreprises et les investisseurs étrangers ont épargné à hauteur de 940 milliards $ aux États-Unis. Sur l’ensemble de ce montant, 185 milliards $ ont été investis dans des obligations souveraines nouvellement émises, les 755 milliards $ restants ayant visé des instruments d’épargne produisant des intérêts ou des dividendes, tels que les prêts, les obligations d’entreprises, ou encore les nouvelles émissions d’actions, qui en retour ont ajouté au stock de capital productif du secteur privé américain.

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