L'insondable contraction de la Chine

CAMBRIDGE – Alors que pratiquement tous les pays du monde cherchent à stimuler la croissance, le gouvernement chinois essaie de la ralentir à un niveau durable. Comme la Chine évolue vers une économie davantage stimulée par la demande intérieure et davantage axée sur les services, une transition vers une tendance à la croissance plus lente est tout aussi inévitable que souhaitable. Mais les défis sont immenses et personne ne doit tenir un atterrissage en douceur pour acquis.

Comme l'économie chinoise se développe par rapport à l'économie de ses partenaires commerciaux, l'efficacité de son modèle de croissance par l'exportation doit inévitablement disparaître. Le corollaire de cela, c'est que les retours sur investissements massifs dans les infrastructures, dont une grande partie est destinée à soutenir la croissance des exportations, doivent également s'estomper.

La consommation et la qualité de vie ont besoin d'augmenter, alors même que la pollution de l'air de la Chine et de la pénurie d'eau s'accentuent dans de nombreuses régions. Mais dans une économie où la dette a explosé à plus de 200% du PIB, il n'est pas facile de maîtriser la croissance progressivement sans déclencher le non-respect généralisé des ambitieux projets d'investissement. Même en Chine, où le gouvernement dispose de coffres bien garnis pour amortir la chute, une faillite de l'ampleur de Lehman Brothers pourrait conduire à une crise majeure.

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