Lost in Transition

WASHINGTON – Les marchés financiers et les médias ont une chose en commun: ils ont tendance à basculer rapidement de l’excitation au pessimisme, et inversement. Et cela n’est jamais tant manifeste que dans les analyses prospectives des économies émergentes. Ces derniers mois, l’enthousiasme qu’avait suscité la résilience économique de ces pays dans le sillage de la crise de 2008 ainsi que leur potentiel de croissance a laissé place à la morosité, et certains économistes, dont Ricardo Hausmann, annoncent déjà la fin de la fête pour les marchés émergents (“the emerging-market party”).

Pour beaucoup, le récent ralentissement de la croissance diversifiée dans les économies émergentes n’est pas cyclique, mais la traduction de défauts structurels sous-jacents. Cette interprétation contredit ceux qui comme moi, il n’y a pas si longtemps, anticipaient une substitution des moteurs de l’économie mondiale par laquelle les sources de croissance autonomes dans les économies émergentes et en développement compenseraient le retard des économies avancées en difficulté.

Bien sûr, le scénario de référence de la période « nouvelle normalité » d’après crise a toujours supposé une croissance économique globale plus lente que durant la période d’expansion d’avant 2008. Pour la plupart des économies avancées, la crise financière il y a cinq ans marquait la fin d’une période prolongée de consommation intérieure financée par la dette, fondée sur les effets de richesse dérivés d’une surévaluation insoutenable des prix des actifs. La crise a donc entrainé la fin du modèle de croissance chinois fondé sur les exportations qui avait maintenu à flot les prix des matières premières, ce qui avait permis de relancer la croissance du PIB dans les pays en développement exportateurs de matières premières.

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