Paul Lachine

Lisez sur les lèvres de la Chine

NEW HAVEN – Les Chinois ont une admiration de longue date pour le dynamisme de l’Amérique. Pourtant, ils n’ont plus confiance dans le gouvernement américain et son intendance économique dysfonctionnelle. Ce message m’est apparu comme une évidence lors de mes voyages récents à Pékin, Shanghai, Chongqing et Hong Kong.

Survenant si rapidement après la crise des subprimes, le débat autour du plafond d’endettement et le déficit budgétaire a été la goutte d’eau qui fait déborder le vase. Les fonctionnaires supérieurs chinois sont abasourdis par la manière dont les Etats-Unis permettent que la politique pèse plus lourd que la stabilité financière. Un décideur politique de haut rang avait déclaré à la mi-juillet : « Ceci est véritablement choquant… Nous comprenons la politique, mais l’insouciance constante de votre gouvernement est ahurissante. »

La Chine n’est pas un spectateur innocent de la descente aux abysses des Etats-Unis. A la suite de la crise financière asiatique de la fin des années 1990, la Chine a amassé quelques 3,2 trillions de dollars de réserves de change afin d’isoler son système des chocs extérieurs. Deux tiers de ce montant – environ 2 trillions de dollars – sont investis dans des actifs libellés en dollars, principalement des bons du Trésor américain et des titres d’agences telles Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Par conséquent, la Chine a détrôné le Japon à la fin 2008 en tant que principal détenteur étranger d’actifs financiers des Etats-Unis.

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