La bataille de la BCE contre les banques centrales

BERKELEY – Quand la Banque Centrale Européenne a annoncé son programme d’achat d’obligations d’Etat, elle a fait savoir aux marchés financiers qu’elle détestait l’idée, refusait de s’y engager complètement et l’annulerait dès que possible. En effet, la BCE a déclaré qu’elle était convaincue que la stabilisation du prix des obligations d’Etat liée à ces achats serait seulement temporaire.

Il est difficile de penser à une pire manière de mettre en ouvre un programme d’achat d’obligations. En expliquant dès le début qu’elle ne faisait pas confiance à sa propre politique, la BCE a en fait garantit son échec. Si elle marque aussi peu de confiance dans les obligations qu’elle achète, pourquoi diable les investisseurs devraient-ils se comporter différemment ?

La BCE continue à croire que la stabilité financière ne fait pas partie de sa mission de base. Comme l’a expliqué son président sortant, Jean-Claude Trichet, la BCE « ne dispose que d’une aiguille sur [sa] boussole, celle de l’inflation. » Le refus de la BCE de se comporter en tant que prêteur en dernier ressort a rendu nécessaire la création d’une institution de substitution, le Fonds Européen de Stabilité Financière. Cependant, tout le monde sur les marchés financiers sait que le FESF dispose d’une puissance de feu trop faible pour entreprendre cette tâche – et d’une structure de gouvernance impossible à mettre en branle.

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