Les choix difficiles de la Banque d’Angleterre

OXFORD – Andrew Sentance, un membre sortant du Comité de politique monétaire de la Banque d’Angleterre (BOE), a évoqué un scénario qui met sérieusement en cause la crédibilité de la banque centrale britannique. Deux forces contradictoires sont à l’ouvre, qui pourraient maintenir l’inflation nettement au-dessus du taux ciblé de 2 pour cent, non seulement cette année et l’année prochaine, mais également en 2013.

Le dilemme est que toute dépréciation de la livre sterling augmente le niveau de l’inflation importée qui n’est pas contrebalancée par une faible production industrielle. En d’autres termes, la production britannique est anémique – elle a chuté de 6,4 pour cent durant la récession et ne s’est pas encore pleinement rétablie – mais elle ne l’est pas suffisamment, raison pour laquelle l’inflation a été supérieure au taux cible de la BOE tout au long de la reprise suivant la crise financière de 2008. Et selon Sentance, elle pourrait rester à ce niveau pour le moyen terme, ou pour les deux prochaines années, selon les pronostics de la BOE.

Pire encore, si le gouverneur de la Banque d’Angleterre Mervyn King a raison en disant qu’une inflation supérieure au taux ciblé est due à l’inflation importée, relever les taux d’intérêt n’a que peu d’effet à moins d’entraîner une appréciation de la livre sterling, ce qui abaisserait le coût des importations. Mais l’appréciation de la livre a pour objectif de rééquilibrer l’économie en encourageant les exportations. En fait, le gouvernement britannique compte là-dessus. Son nouveau Bureau pour la responsabilité budgétaire prévoit que les échanges commerciaux contribuent autant que la consommation à la croissance du PIB dans les années à venir.

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