wave crashing into sea wall Ian Forsyth/ZumaPress

Un système de prévention financière

NEW YORK – Une volatilité récente des marchés (dans les pays émergents tout comme dans les économies développées), montre une fois de plus à quel point les agences de notation et les investisseurs peuvent se tromper dans leur estimation de la vulnérabilité économique et financière des pays. Les agences de notation attendent trop longtemps pour repérer des risques et pour déclasser les pays, alors que les investisseurs se comportent comme des moutons, ignorant souvent l'accumulation du risque pendant trop longtemps, avant de rétrograder brusquement et de causer les variations exagérées du marché.

Étant donné la nature de l'agitation du marché, il semble difficile de créer un système de prévention des tsunamis financiers. Mais le monde en a besoin aujourd'hui plus que jamais. Peu de personnes avaient prévu la crise des subprimes de 2008, le risque de faillite de la zone euro ou encore les turbulences actuelles des marchés financiers dans le monde entier. On a accusé les politiciens, les banques et les institutions supranationales. Mais les agences de notation et les analystes qui ont mal évalué la capacité de remboursement des débiteurs (gouvernements compris) s'en sont tirés à trop bon compte.

En principe les cotes de crédit sont basées sur les modèles statistiques des faillites passées. Dans la pratique cependant, comme peu de faillites nationales se sont effectivement produites, les cotations souveraines sont souvent une affaire subjective. Dans les agences de notation, les analystes suivent les développements dans le pays dont ils sont responsables. Lorsque cela est nécessaire, ils s'y rendent pour examiner la situation.

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