Paul Lachine

La Chine fait la bonne politique monétaire

BERKELEYOn peut affirmer aujourd’hui que les Etats-Unis et la Chine sont sortis d’une phase de fortes tensions commerciales, alors qu’au début du mois, un bras de fer menaçait encore. En fin de compte, lentement mais sûrement, la Chine s’apprête à amorcer une remontée très progressive du renminbi, qui devrait, comme entre 2005 et 2007, s’apprécier vis-à-vis du dollar.

Certains seront soulagés, notamment de l’inquiétude d’une guerre commerciale, tandis que d’autres, pour qui un renminbi très sous-évalué est largement destructeur d’emploi aux Etats-Unis, seront très déçus de cette appréciation, qu’ils auraient espérée plus rapide et moins modérée – sans doute autour de 20% – car elle aurait entraîné une réduction visible du taux de chômage américain.

Pour d’autres cependant, ce n’est pas le taux de change qui est en cause. Partant de l’idée que l’équilibre de la balance courante d’un pays est le reflet de ses taux d’épargne et d’investissement, ils soutiennent que le véritable problème est celui de l’excédent chinois et de son exact pendant, le déficit américain. Si la Chine accuse un excédent extérieur, c’est que l’épargne y est supérieure à l’investissement. Le déficit extérieur américain, quant à lui, serait dû à l’insuffisance de l’épargne publique, qui a pu être naguère le fait d’une dépense inconsidérée des ménages, mais dont les incompétences du gouvernement seraient comptables aujourd’hui.

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