Seuls les faibles survivent

TOKYO – Les risques d’une guerre mondiale des monnaies et des échanges commerciaux sont réels dans la mesure où la plupart des économies de la planète se sont engagées dans des dévaluations concurrentielles. Toutes ont entamé un jeu que certaines devront perdre.

Les tensions actuelles proviennent d’une paralysie dans le rééquilibrage global. Les pays dépensiers – comme les Etats-Unis et quelques autres pays anglo-saxons – surendettés et dont le compte courant est déficitaire, doivent désormais économiser plus et dépenser moins sur la demande intérieure. Pour maintenir la croissance, il faut une dévaluation réelle et nominale de leur monnaie pour réduire leurs déficits commerciaux. Mais les économies qui épargnent trop – comme la Chine, le Japon et l’Allemagne – dont les comptes courants étaient excédentaires résistent à l’idée d’une réévaluation nominale de leurs monnaies. Un taux de change plus élevé diminuerait les excédents de leur compte courant, parce qu’ils sont incapables ou indisposés à réduire leur épargne et à soutenir la croissance par une augmentation de leurs dépenses en consommation intérieure.

Au sein de la zone euro, ce problème est exacerbé par le fait que l’Allemagne, avec ses importants excédents, peut vivre avec un euro plus fort, tandis que les PIIGS (Portugal, Irlande, Italie, Grèce et Espagne) ne le peuvent pas. Compte tenu de leurs importants déficits extérieurs, les PIIGS ont au contraire besoin d’une forte dépréciation pour relancer la croissance tandis qu’ils mettent en place de douloureuses réformes budgétaires et structurelles. 

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