La prochaine vague planétaire du crédit

HONG KONG – Les grands de ce monde sur le point de clore leurs entretiens au sommet du G20 à Cannes en France se voient déjà approcher le prochain champ miné de problèmes économiques qui risquent de se matérialiser par une vague massive et informe de crédit à l'échelle mondiale. Ce tsunami de liquidités prendra son énergie d'un mélange puissant, mais instable de liquidités internationales provenant de colosses bancaires aux pieds d'argile et d'un système bancaire parallèle qui n'est ni contrôlé, ni réglementé.

Il est certain que peu de gens voient la chose sous cet angle. Ainsi, Ben Bernanke, le président de la Fed et beaucoup d'autres ont plutôt imputé la crise financière de 2008 à un trop-plein d'épargnes. De fait, ces surplus sont venus grossir les flux monétaires sur les marchés internationaux en provenance des économies émergentes à haut taux d'épargne. Ces pays, concentrés surtout en Asie, dégagent, année après année, des excédents de leur balance des paiements. Selon cette école de pensée, l'épargne excédentaire aurait repoussé les taux d'intérêt à long terme dans les bas-fonds, bâtissant ainsi des bulles spéculatives de la valeur des actifs aux États-Unis et ailleurs.

A contrario, deux économistes de la Banque des règlements internationaux, Claudio Borio et Piti Disayat avancent l’argument convaincant que la théorie du surplus d'épargne ne parvient pas à expliquer l'envergure de la création insoutenable de liquidités dans la période menant à la crise de 2008. Ils sont parvenus à démontrer que l’afflux considérable de capitaux n’était pas le fait des économies émergentes, mais tirait sa source des économies européennes, où la balance des paiements était collectivement déficitaire.

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