China and US US State Dept/Flickr

La Chine révélatrice du piège de la pensée linéaire américaine

NEW HAVEN – L’extrapolation est une tentation bien souvent difficile à surmonter. Cette tendance exerce une influence puissante sur les marchés, les responsables politiques, les ménages et les entreprises. Les observateurs les plus avertis comprennent toutefois les limites de la pensée linéaire, conscients qu’il est possible de discuter ces limites, et parfois de les rompre. Ceci se vérifie lorsqu’il s’agit d’évaluer ces deux facteurs clés qui façonnent aujourd’hui l’économie mondiale : risques associés à la démarche politique américaine, et état de l’économie chinoise.

L’assouplissement quantitatif, ou QE (programme de la Réserve fédérale consistant en achats mensuels d’actifs à long terme), a dans un premier temps constitué une démarche positive – antidote administré par la Fed au bon moment et de manière correctement articulée, face au désespoir d’une crise dévastatrice. Bien que les scénarios contrefactuels constituent un exercice délicat, il est difficile de penser que les injections de liquidités réalisées fin 2008 et début 2009 n’ont pas joué un rôle important dans le sauvetage de la planète face à une menace bien pire que la Grande Récession.

Mise en place de facilités de financement spécifiques aux produits et première ronde d’assouplissement quantitatif ont permis de propulser le bilan de la Fed jusqu’à 2 300 milliards $ en mars 2009, contre un niveau d’avant-crise de 900 milliards $ à l’été 2008. Ainsi a-t-il été possible de désentraver un certain nombre de marchés pris dans le gel d’une crise ravageuse.

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