Euro – 3375 words – College
Euro – 3375 words – College

Euro – 3375 words – College

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  • Pages: 7 (3388 words)
  • Published: November 16, 2018
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In Europe, the debut of the euro is widely hailed as the most important event affecting the international monetary landscape since the breakup of the Bretton Woods System in 1971 to 1973, or since the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944, or maybe even since the founding of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. It has become a contest for European officials and commentators to see who can push the analogy back furthest in time. Eminences elsewhere in the world have similarly greeted the euro with high hopes and great expectations. Only in the United States has the euro been greeted with a yawn. It is not hard to see why. So far, its advent has not weakened the international financial position of the dollar; if anything the opposite has been true. The dollar has been strong against the euro rather than weak; for much of last autumn the fear was that the euro, which had started out being worth well more than a dollar, might plunge through the dreaded psychological barrier of one to one. There has been no sign of Asian and Latin American central banks replacing their dollars with euros en masse, as prominent commentators had predicted. The United States has not had to change the way it does business at Group of Seven summits, the OECD, or the IMF. Many Americans thus cannot help but feel that the euro is a tempest in a teapot. The Euro’s Slow Start Perhaps Asian and Latin American central banks have been waiting to dump their dollars until the euro stabilizes. Through much of 1999 the euro was weak because the Euro

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pean economy was weak; governments and private investors were understandably reluctant to overweight a currency that seemed to be losing value by the day. Investors were slow to move into euros because they thought that Europe was less well prepared than the United States for Y2K. They worried about the stability of the European banking system because European banks had lent much more aggressively than their American counterparts to Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. But now that European growth is finally accelerating, the euro could strengthen, and the anticipated shift into euros at last could get under way. Perhaps governments and investors have been reluctant to embrace the euro because of a series of missteps by the European Central Bank. In the early months of 1999, ECB officials issued a series of confusing and contradictory statements, and on several occasions the ECB board’s decision on whether or not to raise interest rates leaked to the press in advance of the official announcement. In April the ECB cut interest rates faster than most market participants thought wise in response to signs of weakness in the European economy. Now that the ECB has apparently concluded that less is more (by issuing fewer public statements and moving interest rates less frequently) and has begun to demonstrate the priority it attaches to price stability, skepticism about its ability to act as the steward of a strong currency may be about to fade. Learning to Think European And perhaps it is simply taking time fo

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Europe to learn to speak with one monetary voice. It is understandable that an extended process of acculturation should be required in order for the national central bank governors on the ECB board to learn to think and talk as representatives of Europe and to frame policy with Europe-wide conditions in mind. Similarly, not until well into 1999 was real progress made on reorganizing European representation at G-7, G-10 and OECD meetings. Europe, unlike the United States, has not been able to effectively represent its views on how best to reform the international financial architecture because it is still creating mechanisms for conveying its views and, more importantly, forming those views. Given time, however, this will change. With time, the euro will significantly alter the international monetary and financial landscape. Europe’s new money will develop into a serious rival to the dollar as a reserve currency for central banks, an invoicing currency for importers and exporters, and a financial asset for international investors. But this will take more time than suggested even by many “euro-skeptics.” Because changes in the international monetary and financial landscape tend to occur extremely slow, the exaggerated hopes of euro-enthusiasts like Fidel Castro are likely to be disappointed. Similarly, Europe will eventually learn to speak with one monetary voice. But the political changes needed to make that level of financial solidarity possible will take many years to complete. Just as the dollar will continue to dominate the international financial arena for the foreseeable future, the United States will retain the loudest single voice in international monetary debate. A Rival to the Dollar?n A world where the euro rivaled or even surpassed the dollar would represent a major change from the status quo. At the moment, the dollar is far and away the leading currency. Aproximily sixty-seven percent of the foreign exchange reserves of central banks around the world are in dollars, compared to less than a quarter of the total for all Euroland– of the 11 E.U. Forty percent of the minor currencies that are pegged to one of their major counterparts are pegged to the U.S. dollar, a far larger percentage than any of its rivals. In one of the articles I also read that the dollar is used to denominate more than half of all private financial transactions. There was an interesting articles which said that Less is known about whose cash is held outside the home country, since much of it is used for purposes like drug smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering. But the best guess of the Federal Reserve and the German Bundesbank is that perhaps 80 percent of the total is dollars. Those who hope or fear that the euro will quickly rival or overtake the dollar as an international currency point to the size of the European market, which are still growing. The population of Euroland approaches 300 million. The euro area is the single largest importer and exporter in the world, accounting for 19 per cent of world exports, followed by 15 percent for the U.S. and 9 percent for Japan. Its share of world GDP is 16

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