La mauvaise stratégie de croissance du Japon

CAMBRIDGE – Le nouveau gouvernement du Japon, dirigé par le premier ministre Shinzo Abe, pourrait être sur le point de se tirer une balle dans le pied. Cherchant à stimuler la croissance économique, les autorités pourraient bientôt détruire leur seul grand avantage : le faible taux d'intérêt sur la dette publique et les prêts privés. Si cela se produit, les conditions au Japon seront probablement pires à la fin du mandat Abe qu'elles ne le sont aujourd'hui.

Le taux d'intérêt sur les obligations d’état japonaises à dix ans est maintenant en-dessous de 1% - le plus faible du monde, en dépit du niveau très élevé de la dette publique et des déficits budgétaires annuels. En effet, la dette du Japon s’élève maintenant à environ 230% du PIB, supérieure à celle de la Grèce (175% du PIB) et près de deux fois celle de l'Italie (125% du PIB). Le déficit budgétaire annuel est de près de 10% du PIB, plus que n'importe quel pays de la zone euro. A cause d’un PIB nominal en stagnation, ce déficit implique une augmentation du ratio dette / PIB de 10% par an.

Le gouvernement japonais est en mesure de payer un taux d'intérêt aussi bas parce que les prix domestiques sont en baisse depuis plus d'une décennie, alors que le yen s'est renforcé par rapport aux autres grandes monnaies. La déflation domestique signifie que le taux d'intérêt réel sur les obligations japonaises est plus élevé que le taux nominal. L’augmentation de la valeur du yen augmente le rendement sur les obligations japonaises par rapport au rendement des obligations libellées dans d'autres devises.

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