Auto-assurance ou auto-destruction ?

NEW DELHI – Bien que la Réserve fédérale américaine ferme les yeux sur les effets collatéraux de sa politique monétaire, le reste du monde s’inquiète de l'impact que les inversions des flux de capitaux auront sur les économies émergentes. Les réserves de change que ces pays ont construites ces dernières années seront-elles suffisantes pour protéger leurs systèmes financiers du retour de la liquidité vers les pays développés ?

Pour faire court, la réponse est non, parce qu’une auto-assurance excessive fait au final plus de mal que de bien. Afin de briser le cycle de déstabilisation des flux de capitaux à court terme et d’accumulation excessive de réserves de change, le Fonds monétaire international, avec un large soutien du G-20, doit élaborer de nouvelles règles concernant les retombées de politique monétaire.

Les crises importantes laissent une empreinte sur la psyché d'une nation. A la fin des années 1990, les crises monétaires et bancaires qui ont ravagé les économies asiatiques ont conduit les dirigeants des pays touchés à une conclusion simple : on n’est jamais trop assuré. Bien que l'introduction de taux de change flottants ait éliminé l'incitation à emprunter dans une monnaie étrangère (et donc la nécessité de s’auto-assurer), l'humiliation politique liée à la perte de souveraineté au profit du FMI – ne serait-ce que temporairement – a été si dévastatrice que les coûts économiques que génère la constitution d’un immense trésor de guerre de devises semblaient en valoir la peine. Cependant, les dirigeants de ces pays n'ont pas réussi à en saisir toutes les conséquences.

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