Tim Brinton

La dette : un Piège mortel

NEW YORK – Les PIIGS (le Portugal, l’Italie, l’Irlande, la Grèce et l’Espagne, soit les états cochons selon l’appellation anglo-saxonne) ne sont pas les seuls à souffrir de viabilité problématique de leur dette publique. La saga financière grecque n’est que le sommet de l’iceberg pour de nombreuses économies avancées. En effet, les prévisions actuelles de l’OCDE prévoient une augmentation moyenne de 100 % du PIB du ratio dette-PIB dans les économies avancées. Et les dernières estimations du Fonds monétaire international sont similaires.

Chez les PIIGS, la liste des problèmes ne se limite pas à un déficit budgétaire et un ratio de dette excessifs (chacun des cinq pays les éprouvant à un degré différent). Ils sont aussi confrontés à des soucis de déficit externe, de perte de compétitivité et par conséquent de croissance anémique.

Il y a dix ans déjà, ces économies perdaient des parts de marché au profit de la Chine et de l’Asie, dont les exportations bénéficiaient d’une faible valeur-ajoutée et d’une main-d’œuvre en masse. Après une décennie pendant laquelle les salaires ont augmenté plus vite que la productivité, le coût unitaire de la main-d’œuvre (et le taux de change réel basé sur ce coût) s’est apprécié. L’énorme déficit croissant des comptes-courants et la croissance au ralenti sont le reflet de la perte de compétitivité qui a suivi. Puis, l’appréciation de l’euro entre 2002 et 2008 a été le coup de grâce.

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