Les trappes qui attendent la Fed à la sortie

MUMBAI – La faiblesse persistante de l'économie américaine – où le désendettement des secteurs public et privé se poursuit – a conduit à un chômage obstinément élevé et une croissance inférieure à la normale. Les effets de l'austérité budgétaire – une forte hausse des impôts et une forte baisse des dépenses publiques depuis le début de l'année – minent encore plus les performances économiques.

En effet, des données récentes ont imposé le silence à certains responsables de la Réserve fédérale, qui avaient laissé sous-entendre que la Fed pourrait commencer à sortir du troisième cycle d'assouplissement quantitatif (QE3) qui est actuellement en cours (pour une durée indéterminée). Compte tenu de la faible croissance, du taux de chômage élevé (qui a diminué seulement parce que les travailleurs découragés sont en train de quitter la population active) et d’une inflation largement inférieure à l'objectif de la Fed, ce n'est pas le moment de commencer à contraindre la liquidité.

Le problème est que les injections de liquidités de la Fed ne sont pas génératrices de crédit pour financer l'économie réelle, mais au contraire stimulent l'endettement et la prise de risque sur les marchés financiers. L'émission d'obligations de mauvaise qualité risquées, sous des engagements contractuels vagues et à des taux d’intérêt excessivement faibles est en augmentation ; le marché boursier atteint de nouveaux sommets, malgré le ralentissement de la croissance ; et l'argent se dirige en masse vers les marchés émergents à haut rendement.

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