La tempête avant le calme !

OXFORD – Les banques centrales n'ont plus besoin de se préoccuper de l'inflation, car c'est la déflation qui menace à court terme. Mais il ne faut pas qu'elles s'effrayent d'une déflation temporaire, au moins si le système bancaire est recapitalisé et si dans les pays industriels les taux d'intérêt baissent fortement.

Encore récemment, en septembre et en octobre, la Réserve fédérale américaine et la Banque centrale européenne estimaient que le risque d'inflation et le risque qui pesait sur la croissance étaient sensiblement au même niveau et elles étaient réticentes à baisser fortement les taux d'intérêt. Les marchés financiers ont peut-être estimé que le point de vue de la Fed sur l'inflation aux USA était représentatif de celui des autres banques centrales, d'autant que la BCE a pris la décision le 2 octobre de ne pas toucher aux taux d'intérêt.

Aujourd'hui, en matière d'inflation les USA font face au retournement de tendance le plus important qu'ils aient connu depuis 20 ans. Certes, on sait qu'il est très difficile de prévoir l'inflation. L'économie mondiale a connu de grands changements structurels (entre autre la mondialisation commerciale et financière) et il en a été de même au sein de chaque pays (avec le déclin des syndicats par exemple). La politique monétaire elle-même s'est mise à accorder beaucoup plus d'importance à l'inflation.

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