L’Allemagne n’est pas la Chine

ROTTERDAM – Un consensus quasi général existe sur le fait que les déséquilibres globaux des flux commerciaux et de capitaux sont en grande partie responsables de la crise financière et de la récession subséquente qui ont secoué l’économie mondiale depuis 2008. Mais tous les déséquilibres n’ont pas été créés égaux et il est intéressant d’examiner les conséquences des comptes extérieurs de chaque pays sur la stabilité et la prospérité économiques mondiales.

La version conventionnelle de la crise est bien connue : l’augmentation des prix de l’immobilier a entraîné une hausse de la consommation individuelle aux Etats-Unis au début des années 2000, malgré une faible augmentation des salaires. Parallèlement au déficit budgétaire toujours plus grand des Etats-Unis, le déficit de leurs comptes courants – déjà important – s’est encore creusé, avec comme pendant un excédent commercial croissant de la Chine, et avec l’envolée du prix du brut, de pays producteurs de pétrole tels que les Émirats arabes unis.

L’Europe, de son côté, semblait avoir des comptes remarquablement équilibrés, du moins en apparence, si l’on tenait compte soit des 27 États membres, soit des 16 membres de la zone euro. Alors que les Etats-Unis enregistraient un déficit de leurs comptes courants qui atteignait jusqu’à 6 pour cent du PIB, l’UE et la zone euro affichaient des déficits – ou des excédents – dépassant rarement 1 pour cent du PIB.

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