Oil drill in field.

Le prix du pétrole et croissance mondiale

CAMBRIDGE – L'une des plus grosses surprises économiques de l'année 2015 est que la baisse étonnante des prix mondiaux du pétrole ne s'est pas concrétisée en un plus fort essor de la croissance mondiale. Malgré l'effondrement des prix, de plus de 115 dollars le baril en juin 2014 à 45 dollars à la fin novembre 2015, la plupart des modèles macro-économiques suggèrent que l'impact sur la croissance mondiale a été plus faible que prévu, peut-être autour de 0,5% du PIB mondial.

La bonne nouvelle, c'est que cet effet bienvenu mais modeste sur la croissance ne va probablement pas s'éteindre en 2016. La mauvaise, c'est que les prix bas vont faire peser des contraintes encore plus lourdes sur les principaux pays exportateurs de pétrole.

Le déclin récent des prix du pétrole va pair avec la chute de l'offre en 1985-1986, lorsque les membres de l'OPEP (comprenez : l'Arabie saoudite) se sont décidés à inverser les réductions d'approvisionnement pour regagner leur part de marché. La situation est également comparable à l'effondrement de la demande en 2008-2009, suite à la crise financière mondiale. Dans la mesure où les facteurs de demande conduisent à une baisse du prix du pétrole, on ne s'attend pas à un impact positif important : le prix du pétrole est plus un stabilisateur automatique qu'une force exogène ayant un rôle moteur dans l'économie globale. D'autre part, les chocs d'approvisionnement doivent avoir un impact positif significatif.

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