La décennie perdue et retrouvée de l’Europe

BRUXELLES – L’humeur des marchés financiers européens a changé. Pour le moment, la possibilité d'une sortie grecque de la zone euro n’est plus sur la table. Pour autant que les spreads de taux d'intérêt sur les emprunts d'état italiens et espagnols puissent servir de guide en la matière, les porteurs d'obligations ne parient plus sur un éclatement de la zone euro. Le marché boursier européen est même reparti à la hausse la semaine suivant les élections italiennes peu concluantes du mois dernier.

De toute évidence, les investisseurs estiment que les dirigeants européens feront juste le nécessaire pour sauvegarder leur union monétaire. Mais, en même temps, il est peu probable que l'économie européenne suivra le modèle des crises dans les marchés émergents pour se relever, tel le phénix, de ses cendres. Au contraire, le scénario le plus probable semble être celui d’une décennie perdue de style japonais, avec une croissance lente ou nulle.

Le premier obstacle à un « miracle phénix » est que les gouvernements restent en mode austérité. Oui, on murmure que le rythme de l'assainissement budgétaire pourrait être ralenti ; en effet, on a déjà accordé à la France plus de temps pour atteindre son objectif de déficit. Mais cela ressemble beaucoup au Japon, où le robinet financier a été provisoirement ouvert puis refermé. Les consommateurs japonais savaient que l'augmentation des dépenses publiques était temporaire, de sorte qu'ils n'ont pas changé leurs habitudes de consommation, rendant la politique inefficace.

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