Bretton Woods III

SINGAPOUR – De nombreux analystes et observateurs estiment que les déséquilibres globaux qui caractérisaient l'économie mondiale dans les années précédant la crise de 2008 se sont sensiblement dissipés. Néanmoins, s'il est vrai que les excédents courants de la Chine et les déficits américains se sont quelque peu modérés depuis lors, les déséquilibres ont-ils vraiment été corrigés ? Plus important encore, est-ce que l’économie globale après la crise pourra connaître à la fois la croissance et l'équilibre?

Pour répondre à ces questions, il est important de bien comprendre la dynamique derrière des déséquilibres. Le compte courant d'une économie est la différence entre le taux d'investissement et le taux d'épargne qui prévalent dans cette économie. En 2007, les États-Unis affichaient un taux d'épargne de 14,6% du PIB pour un taux d'investissement de 19,6%, résultant en un déficit du compte courant. En revanche, la Chine connaissait un taux d'investissement fixe de 41,7% du PIB et d’un taux d'épargne de 51,9%, ce qui se traduisait par un excédent important.

Depuis 2007, le déficit du compte courant des Etats-Unis a diminué, mais pas en raison d'une hausse du taux d'épargne. Au contraire, le déficit extérieur a été réduit par un effondrement de l'activité d'investissement, alors que le taux global d'épargne américain a chuté en dessous de 13% du PIB en raison de la détérioration des finances publiques. Parallèlement, le taux d'épargne de la Chine reste obstinément élevé. L'excédent s'est réduit parce que l'investissement est encore monté un peu plus en puissance, à près de 49% du PIB. En d'autres termes, les Américains épargnent aujourd'hui encore moins qu'avant que la crise n’éclate, et les Chinois investissent encore plus.

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