Mariages forcés

FLORENCE – La peur de la dette souveraine et les doutes suscités par les plans de relance de l’euro ont remis au goût du jour la question des monnaies de réserve. Jusqu’à ce printemps, la plupart des experts pensaient que le cours du dollar dans les réserves internationales baisserait progressivement et que le monde passerait doucement mais sûrement à un régime à plusieurs réserves.

Jusqu’à présent, la crise financière mondiale s’est avérée historique en ce qu’elle ne présentait pas d’incidence majeure sur les marchés des changes. Le cours des monnaies de réserves principales était stable, le dollar équivalant à 62 % des réserves en taux de change en 2009 (et l’euro 27 %). Tout gros changement ne provenait pas d’une décision mûrement réfléchie par les banques centrales pour redistribuer les réserves, mais plutôt d’une arithmétique simple de la variation des taux de change : un dollar plus fort fait monter le cours du dollar sur l’ensemble des réserves mondiales, tandis qu’un dollar plus faible fait baisser le cours.

En fait, une sorte d’équilibre de la terreur empêche les détenteurs de réserves importants d’effectuer une quelconque redistribution significative. Un effort de diversification en vendant un actif en particulier a de telles répercussions sur les marchés que toute banque centrale qui s’y est risquée a essuyé de larges dettes.

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