Les économistes de la Société Générale ont publié leur dernière analyse de l’économie internationale. Le processus de désendettement dans de nombreux pays est long et n’est pas près d’être terminé. La situation de croissance molle que connaissent de nombreux pays développés et le ralentissement des émergents ne sont pas tenables. La clef d’une reprise plus durable, c’est le retour de la confiance, estiment-ils.
A court terme, 2013 devrait être une année de croissance atone. L’intervention des banques centrales, en particulier celle de la BCE, sera une source de volatilité (achats d’obligations et baisse des rendements souverains vs conditionalité et effort sur les budgets nationaux). La question fiscale dominera aux Etats-Unis. En Chine, la transition vers une économie plus centrée sur la demande intérieure continuera de peser sur le rythme de croissance du PIB, sans toutefois tomber dans un « hard landing ». Du côté des bonnes nouvelles, SG ne voit d’effets de second tour lié à la hausse des prix du carburant ou des produits agricoles (logique au regard de la situation de l’emploi dans de nombreux pays).
Comme à son habitude, la banque avance 5 thèmes de référence pour les prochains mois:
« 1. Muddle-through nearing sell-by date: That the advanced economies need to deleverage is not news. The real questions are how much, how fast and how? We have given this topic considerable thought and find that deleveraging is achievable without mass default. But it does require confidence, to lower risk premia and encourage crowding-in, and structural reform to boost trend potential growth. We also looked closely at the current muddle-through scenario and concluded that this is simply not sustainable medium-term. A key assumption behind our 2016 outlook is that muddle-through ultimately translates to confidence. We believe this can happen, but it’s an incremental process.
2. Asia’s pain, outside-in: Asia is once again confronted with the grim reality that demand from the advanced economies is structurally lower. This is a headwind not just for exports, but also for fixed asset investment (FAI). Around 30% of China’s FAI has gone to support the rapid expansion of the manufacturing sector and is now faced with excess capacity, as domestic demand is insufficient to fill the gap left by slower export growth.
3. US cliff: The fiscal cliff represents a potentially enormous swing factor in the US economic outlook, with 2013 scenarios ranging from above-trend growth to a possible recession. We assume a drag of 1.4pp of GDP coming through in 2013, resulting in another year without progress in narrowing of the output gap. Monetary policy will no doubt lean against the fiscal headwinds, with the odds favouring a pre-emptive response as early as the mid-September FOMC meeting.
4. No second-round inflation: Inflation is unlikely to abate as fast as we previously anticipated in most countries despite the global economic slowdown. Three major factors are contributing to a temporary rise in inflation. Firstly, oil prices have bounced back over the summer. Secondly, the recent lift in grain food prices is a source of concern, in particular in many emerging countries. Lastly, indirect taxes are set to rise in some countries (euro area, Japan). Inflation has been quickening but second-round effects are virtually non-existent, notably because credit growth remains lacklustre. From a monetary policy point of view, the key consequence is that the two tail risks, deflation and inflation, are remote over the medium term. This has left central banks with room for manoeuvre to focus on reviving credit growth.
5. No blank cheque from the ECB: Conditionality is here to stay! This is the clear message delivered by all euro area policymakers, and with that so too is sovereign risk. Austerity traps have shaped much of the euro area periphery and, in our opinion, the return to a more virtuous circle will take considerable time. Both the Spanish and Italian economies will continue to suffer under painful austerity. Encouraged by the first positive results appearing in Ireland and Portugal, it seems unlikely that this approach will see any major change. Spain is widely expected to request aid in Q4 12, and it is a very real possibility that Italy will follow but not until after the elections due to take place at the latest in spring 2013. »