La Réserve fédérale et les guerres des monnaies

NEW YORK - La récente décision de la Réserve fédérale américaine de lancer un troisième round de « quantitative easing » a ravivé les accusations du ministre des finances brésilien, Guido Mantega, selon lesquelles les Etats-Unis ont déclenché une « guerre des monnaies ». Dans les pays émergents qui subissent déjà l'impact sur la compétitivité de l'appréciation rapide de leur monnaie, les mesures expansionnistes annoncées ces dernières semaines par la Banque centrale européenne et la Banque du Japon ont renforcé le sentiment d'alarme face à la décision de la Fed.

Mon sentiment est que les deux côtés ont raison. La Fed a eu raison d'adopter de nouvelles mesures monétaires expansionnistes face à la faiblesse de la reprise américaine. En outre, le fait de conditionner son intervention à l'amélioration du marché du travail était une étape particulièrement importante – que d'autres banques centrales, notamment la BCE, devraient suivre.

Bien sûr, l'expansion monétaire devrait s'accompagner d'une attitude budgétaire moins restrictive dans les pays industrialisés. Toutefois, la marge de manœuvre budgétaire des économies avancées est plus limitée qu'elle ne l'était en 2007-2008 et l'impasse politique aux Etats-Unis s'est aggravée, ce qui exclut toute nouvelle mesure de relance par voie budgétaire. Bien que l'efficacité d'un nouveau cycle de quantitative easing sera limitée, comme l’explique Mantega, la Fed n'avait pas d'autre choix que d'agir.

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