Paul Lachine

Dix questions sur l’assouplissement quantitatif

NEW YORK – La plupart des observateurs considèrent que les politiques monétaires non conventionnelles telles que l'assouplissement quantitatif (quantitative easing, ou QE, en anglais) sont nécessaires pour relancer la croissance dans les économies qui sont aujourd'hui anémiques. Toutefois, de plus en plus de questions ont également commencé à se faire entendre à propos de l'efficacité et des risques du QE. En particulier, dix coûts potentiels associés à ces politiques méritent l'attention.

Premièrement, bien qu’une réponse purement « autrichienne » (c'est à dire, l’austérité) en vue de faire éclater les bulles d'actifs et du crédit puisse conduire à une dépression, les politiques de QE qui retardent trop longtemps le processus nécessaire du désendettement des secteurs privé et public peuvent créer une armée de zombies : des institutions financières zombies, des ménages et des entreprises zombies et, finalement, des gouvernements zombies. Dès lors, quelque part entre les deux extrêmes autrichien et keynésien, les mesures de QE doivent être progressivement éliminées au fil du temps.

Deuxièmement, un QE à répétition peut devenir inefficace avec le temps, lorsque les canaux de transmission vers l'activité économique réelle commencent à se boucher. Le canal des obligations ne fonctionne pas lorsque les rendements obligataires sont déjà bas ; le canal du crédit ne fonctionne pas lorsque les banques stockent de la liquidité et la vélocité pique du nez. En effet, ceux qui peuvent emprunter (les entreprises et ménages disposant d’un rating de premier ordre) ne veulent pas ou n’ont pas besoin de crédit, tandis que ceux qui en ont besoin – les entreprises fortement endettées et les ménages avec un moins bon historique de crédit – n’y ont pas accès en raison de la crise du crédit.

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