Faire de la place pour la Chine

CAMBRIDGE, E.-U. – La Chine avec sa monnaie sous-évaluée et son excédent commercial énorme représentent de gros risques pour l’économie mondiale. Ils risquent d’entrainer une forte réaction protectionniste de la part des Etats-Unis et de l’Europe et menacent la reprise dans les pays émergents et en développement. Si rien n’est fait, les relations de la Chine avec les autres pays pourraient bien s’envenimer. Mais la solution n’est pas aussi simple que le prétendent certains experts.

A l’écoute ce qui se dit à Washington et à Bruxelles, ou à la lecture de la presse financière, il semble que nous assistions à une véritable leçon de moralité. Selon ces responsables officiels et ces commentateurs, il est dans les propres intérêts de la Chine d’apprécier le renminbi . Car l’économie chinoise ne peut plus s’offrir le luxe de se reposer uniquement sur la demande extérieure et les exportations pour soutenir son extraordinaire croissance. Par ailleurs, les consommateurs chinois, qui sont encore pauvres dans l’ensemble, ont besoin d’une pause et devraient être encouragés à dépenser plutôt qu’à épargner.

Dans cette histoire, les politiciens chinois endossent le rôle des méchants, se fourvoyant dans la manipulation de la monnaie et qui, de manière incompréhensible, choisissent non seulement de se nuire mais aussi de nuire au reste du monde. Il est vrai qu’une appréciation du renminbi pourrait porter un sérieux coup à la croissance chinoise, laquelle repose sur une recette simple et éculée : promouvoir l’industrialisation. La sous-évaluation de la monnaie est aujourd’hui le principal outil du gouvernement chinois pour financer l’industrie et les autres secteurs d’activités commercialisables, encourageant ainsi la croissance par un changement structurel.

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