oil drilling James Hall/EyeEm/Getty Images

Comment faire face à un choc pétrolier

CAMBRIDGE – Le marché pétrolier mondial est connu pour son instabilité. Pour autant, abstraction faite des fluctuations à haute fréquence, les prix annuels moyens observés à travers le monde (en dollars américains) ont chuté d’environ 60 % entre 2012 et 2016. Comment des pays tels que la Russie, l’Arabie saoudite, l’Irak ou encore le Venezuela parviennent-ils à faire face à l’effondrement des prix de leur principal (voire unique) produit d’exportation ?

Une réponse purement théorique consisterait à souligner la nécessité pour un gouvernement d’ajuster les dépenses budgétaires en fonction des baisses permanentes (ou très persistantes) du côté des exportations et des recettes budgétaires. Un gouvernement peut financer des déficits extérieurs et budgétaires lorsque le choc est perçu comme éphémère.

Soulignant l’ampleur des effets économiques qu’engendre un revers de fortune pour les pays producteurs de pétrole, le diagramme ci-dessous compare la somme des soldes budgétaires globaux (excédent ou déficit) et de la balance extérieure (mesurée par la balance courante) des gouvernements de 18 pays producteurs de pétrole, le tout à l’échelle du PIB nominal. Dans la majorité des cas, les excédents jumeaux de 2011, avant le pic des prix du pétrole, ont cédé la place à d’importants déficits jumeaux en 2016. Des fluctuations de 30 points de pourcentage du PIB (voire plus) ne sont pas rares dans ce groupe.

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