Qui a peur de la baisse ?

TOKYO – La sortie progressive de la Réserve fédérale des États-Unis de l'assouplissement quantitatif (les achats ouverts d'obligations à long terme) inquiète les marchés financiers et les décideurs, avec des alertes de fuite des capitaux des pays en développement et l'effondrement du prix des actifs dans tous les esprits. Mais étant donné que la plupart des grandes économies fonctionnent sous un régime de change flexible, ces préoccupations sont pour une grande part sans fondement.

La logique derrière la peur de la « baisse » de l'assouplissement quantitatif de la Fed est simple. Une politique monétaire non conventionnelle aux États-Unis (et dans d'autres pays avancés, en particulier au Royaume-Uni et au Japon) a entraîné une baisse des taux d'intérêt nationaux, tout en inondant les marchés financiers internationaux de liquidités. A la recherche de rendements plus élevés, les investisseurs ont pris cet afflux de liquidités, en grande partie sous la forme de capitaux spéculatifs à court terme (capitaux fébriles) vers les marchés émergents, en mettant la pression à la hausse sur leur taux de change et en alimentant le risque de bulle d'actifs. Ainsi le retrait de la Fed de l'assouplissement quantitatif pourrait s'accompagner d'une inversion des flux de capitaux, par une augmentation des coûts d'emprunt et risquer d'entraver la croissance du PIB.

Bien sûr, selon cette logique, tous les marchés émergents ne seront pas également exposés. Parmi les pays les plus vulnérables figurent la Turquie, l'Afrique du Sud, le Brésil, l'Inde et l'Indonésie (familièrement appelés les « Cinq pays fragiles ») caractérisés par des déficits jumeaux du compte courant, par une forte inflation ainsi que par des troubles de la croissance du PIB.

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