Les sables mouvants de l’assouplissement quantitatif

PITTSBURGH – La quasi-totalité des reprises ayant fait suite à une récession ont impliqué une croissance rapide de l’emploi – du moins jusqu’à présent. Or, bien que les banques centrales des pays développés aient procédé à une politique monétaire expansionniste dans le sillage de la crise économique mondiale, afin de stimuler la demande, la création d’emploi n’a pas suivi. Ainsi, de plus en plus persuadés qu’ils ne pourront trouver un emploi sur une période prolongée, les travailleurs se retirent en masse de la population active.

C’est aux États-Unis que ce phénomène est le plus prononcé, là où la Réserve fédérale a abaissé les taux d’intérêts à des niveaux sans précédent, et augmenté les réserves bancaires en acquérant des actifs financiers, à travers l’assouplissement quantitatif. Inévitablement alimentée par l’accroissement rapide de la masse monétaire, l’inflation est quant à elle restée faible, autour de 2%, dans la mesure où les banques ne font pas usage de leurs abondantes réserves en direction de l’extension du crédit et de l’accroissement de la liquidité. Bien que ceci permette de canaliser la volatilité des prix, la croissance de l’emploi s’en trouve d’un autre côté entravée.

Or, plutôt que de changer d’approche, la Fed a réagi à la lenteur de la croissance de l’emploi en procédant à de nouveaux cycles d’assouplissement quantitatif. Il semble que son raisonnement consiste à considérer qu’étant donné que l’accroissement des réserves pour plus de 2 milliards $ n’a pas produit les résultats escomptés, un apport supplémentaire de 85 milliards $ mensuels – soit 1 000 milliards de plus cette année – serait susceptible de faire l’affaire.

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