Eurozone : discorde imminente à propos de l’inflation

ZÜRICH – Les discussions au sein du Conseil des gouverneurs de la Banque centrale européenne (BCE), qui doit se réunir le 7 avril, seront sans doute tendues. Le risque de voir une inflation croissante dans les pays émergents d’Asie se répercuter en Europe opposera les faucons de l’inflation de la BCE et les partisans d’un retour aussi rapide que possible au plein emploi. Mais les taux d’inflation divergents au sein de la zone euro et des intérêts nationaux conflictuels menacent de créer des dissensions plus importantes encore.

La cause sous-jacente de ces divergences est le rôle bien plus important que jouent les importations en provenance de Chine ou d’autres pays émergents de l’Asie de l’Est dans les économies allemande et belge que dans les économies de l’Europe du Sud. Les importations allemandes en provenance de la Chine se sont par exemple élevées à près de 63 milliards de dollars en 2009, soit presque l’équivalent des importations combinées de la France, de la Grèce, de l’Italie, de l’Espagne et du Portugal. Et le poids commercial de la Chine, en pourcentage du PIB, est deux fois plus important pour l’Allemagne que pour l’un ou l’autre de ses pays.

En sus de cette différence entre l’ampleur relative des importations, l’effet bénéfique des importations bon marché sur les prix est bien plus sensible sur le marché concurrentiel allemand de la vente au détail que sur les marchés plus traditionnels et peu compétitifs de la vente au détail italien ou grec.

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