Two hands holding a US dollar

Les dangers de l’approche gradualiste de la Fed

NEW HAVEN – Il s’agit désormais d’un exercice familier. Après une longue période de politique monétaire extraordinairement accommodante, la Réserve fédérale américaine débute une longue marche retour vers la normalisation de sa politique. Le premier pas a été franchi par la Fed consistant à rétablir son taux directeur de référence – le taux des fonds fédéraux – à un niveau ne produisant ni relance, ni restriction sur l’économie américaine. 

La majorité des acteurs du marché financier saluent cette stratégie. En réalité, il s’agit d’une erreur majeure. La Fed rejoue en effet le même scénario que lors de sa dernière campagne de normalisation – hausse des taux marginaux en 2004-2006, à l’issue d’une politique de 2001-2003 incroyablement accommodante. Or, de la même manière que l’approche gradualiste d’hier avait ouvert la voie à une crise financière dévastatrice et à une terrible récession en 2008-2009, le risque semble aujourd’hui s’accentuer de voir survenir un nouvel incident, sur le chemin d’une normalisation dont il faut s’attendre à ce qu’elle nécessite encore plus de temps.

Si ce problème existe, c’est parce que la Fed, à l’instar des autres grandes banques centrales, est aujourd’hui devenue une simple créature des marchés financiers, plutôt que d’assurer l’intendance de l’économie réelle. Cette transformation se dessine depuis la fin des années 1980, époque à laquelle la discipline monétaire est venue palier à l’inflation, et où la Fed s’est trouvée confrontée à de nouveaux défis.  

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