Il est temps pour la Chine de laisser flotter le yuan

La Chine est fortement encouragée à cesser ses interventions visant à soutenir le dollar américain sur les marchés internationaux des devises. Les détracteurs de sa politique de change soulignent les dégâts qu’elle entraîne pour d’autres pays. Cependant, les autorités chinoises répondraient peut-être plus favorablement à un autre argument�: la situation économique de la Chine pourrait bénéficier d’un abandon de l’alignement du yuan sur le dollar.

La démonstration est facile�: la Chine mène actuellement des politiques contradictoires, et fragilise ainsi paradoxalement sa propre économie au bénéfice de celle des Etats-Unis, en acceptant les mesures d’incitation de la Federal Reserve. La Chine et Hong Kong sont les premiers acheteurs nets de bons du Trésor américains. Si ce n’était pas le cas, le rendement des bons du Trésor serait beaucoup plus élevé, ce qui irait à l’encontre de la politique d’expansion monétaire de la Fed.

En Chine, l’alignement sur le dollar a permis de constituer d’importantes réserves de change, qui continuent d’augmenter et alimentent les tensions inflationnistes et la hausse rapide de la dette publique. Les contrôles officiels sur le capital obligent les exportateurs à déposer des monnaies fortes à la Banque populaire de Chine en échange de yuans fraîchement créés (généralement sous forme de dépôts en banque) ou d’une dette du gouvernement. Ces deux possibilités seront un jour insoutenables, car le taux d’inflation sera devenu intolérable, ou la charge de la dette publique insupportable.

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