Paul Lachine

Guerre et paix des monnaies

WASHINGTON, DC – Une grande part du battage médiatique autour du sommet du G-20 des ministres des Finances et des dirigeants des banques centrales, le mois dernier à Moscou concernait la « guerre des monnaies », à propos de laquelle les autorités de certains pays en voie de développement ont accusé celles des pays développés de mener des politiques monétaires non conventionnelles. Mais une autre question cruciale, à savoir celle du financement des placements à long terme, a été en grande partie négligée, bien que le dénouement touchant la politique monétaire non conventionnelle attende un regain d'intérêt ou la création de nouveaux actifs à long terme et de capitaux empruntés à l'économie mondiale.

La faillite de Lehman Brothers en 2008 a fait grimper les primes de risque et a déclenché la panique sur les marchés financiers, ce qui a affaiblit les placements aux États-Unis et ailleurs, et a menacé de provoquer un resserrement du crédit. Afin d'éviter la vente au rabais des placements (ce qui aurait pu conduire au démantèlement désordonné des bilans du secteur privé, et aurait pu déclencher une nouvelle « crise de 1929 » voire même ruiner la zone euro), les banques centrales des pays développés ont commencé à acheter des actifs à risques et à augmenter les prêts aux institutions financières, en élargissant de ce fait la masse monétaire.

Alors que les craintes d'effondrement se sont dissipées, ces politiques ont été maintenues ou étendues, lorsque les décideurs ont invoqué la fragilité de la reprise économique en cours et l'absence d'autres leviers politiques aussi forts, comme la politique fiscale ou les réformes structurelles, qui auraient pu remplacer à temps la politique monétaire.

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