Yanis Varoufakis Brookings Institution/Flickr

Les deux devises de la Grèce

ATHENES – Imaginons que les habitants de l'Arizona ne soient autorisés qu'à retirer une faible somme en liquide chaque semaine de leur compte bancaire et que le montant des virements qu'ils peuvent faire sur un compte bancaire en Californie soit limité. Ce contrôle des capitaux marquerait la fin du dollar comme monnaie unique des USA, car ce type de contrainte est totalement incompatible avec une union monétaire.

La Grèce aujourd'hui (comme hier Chypre) constitue une étude de cas sur la manière dont le contrôle des capitaux pèse sur une devise et fausse les relations d'affaires. Le processus est simple : une fois qu'un dépôt en euros est captif d'un systéme bancaire national, il donne naissance en quelque sorte à deux devises différentes : l'euro bancaire (EB) et l'euro papier ou euro libre (EL). Soudain apparaît un taux de change informel entre eux.

Considérons un déposant grec qui veut convertir une somme importante d'EB en EL (par exemple pour payer des dépenses médicales à l'étranger ou pour rembourser une dette d'entreprise à l'égard d'une entité étrangère) et supposons qu'il trouve des détenteurs d'EL disposés à acheter ses EB. Apparaîtra alors un taux de change EL-EB qui dépendra du montant de la transaction, de l'impatience du détenteur d'EB et de la durée attendue du contrôle des capitaux.

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