Une voie négative vers la croissance ?

NEW YORK – La politique monétaire s’est faite de moins en moins conventionnelle ces six dernières années, les banques centrales appliquant politiques de taux d’intérêt zéro, assouplissement quantitatif, assouplissement du crédit, pilotage des anticipations, ou encore intervention sans limite sur les taux de change. Nous en arrivons toutefois aujourd’hui à utiliser l’outil politique le plus inconventionnel de tous – celui des taux d’intérêt nominaux négatifs.

Ces taux sont actuellement dominants dans la zone euro, en Suisse, au Danemark et en Suède. Et les taux directeurs à court terme ne sont pas les seuls à être aujourd’hui négatifs en termes nominaux : environ 3 000 milliards $ d’actifs en Europe et au Japon, accompagnés d’échéances pouvant aller jusqu’à dix ans (dans le cas des obligations gouvernementales suisses), présentent à l’heure actuelle des taux d’intérêt négatifs.

Cela peut a priori sembler absurde : qui pourrait bien vouloir prêter une somme en échange d’un rendement nominal négatif, alors même qu’il pourrait se contenter de conserver ces liquidités, et ainsi être sûr de ne pas se retrouver perdant en termes nominaux ?

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