De l’assouplissement quantitatif pour le peuple

OXFORD – C’est maintenant une quasi-certitude : d'ici la fin de cette année, la baisse des prix des matières premières et de l’énergie pousseront l'inflation annuelle dans la zone euro en dessous de zéro – bien en-deçà de la cible de la Banque centrale européenne d’un taux proche de 2%. Au lieu de continuer à laisser une pensée conventionnelle malavisée, centrée sur l'idéologie économique allemande, empêcher toute action efficace, la BCE doit mettre en œuvre un assouplissement quantitatif (QE) « pour le peuple » – une adaptation de la stratégie du « helicopter drop » de Milton Friedman – pour inverser la déflation et remettre la zone euro sur les rails.

Dans la situation actuelle, la politique monétaire conventionnelle a eu – et un QE à l'américaine aura – peu d'impact sur les pays du noyau dur de la zone euro. Ceci peut être expliqué en partie par le fait que les marchés financiers participent beaucoup moins à l'octroi de crédit  dans la zone euro (où les banques sont plus importantes) que dans les Etats-Unis. En conséquence, faire baisser les rendements des obligations souveraines, d’entreprises et adossées à des actifs a moins d'impact.

En même temps, le taux de change de l'euro – le seul mécanisme par lequel les politiques actuelles pourraient encore faire une différence – ne peut pas être poussé beaucoup plus bas. Tout d’abord, étant donné l'énorme excédent commercial de la zone euro, une telle politique rencontrerait une forte résistance internationale. En outre, les mécanismes par lesquels les achats de titres adossés à des actifs de la Réserve fédérale américaine stimulent les dépenses de consommation – les faibles taux hypothécaires, le refinancement hypothécaire facilement accessible, les prix immobiliers élevés et les diminutions de valeur immobilière nette  – fonctionnent différemment dans la zone euro.

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