EA February 2014

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The Euro at Age 15 — Is it a Reserve Currency Yet?

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paul_horne_realThe euro was welcomed at birth on Jan. 1, 1999, as a new financial currency (coins and banknotes were issued three years later) and hoped by its promoters to be an alternative to the dollar, which had reigned as the world’s primary reserve currency since the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement.   In its early years, the share of global official foreign exchange reserves denominated in EUR rose rapidly, while those in USD declined. But the Euro-zone debt crisis threatened, from late 2009, the euro’s very existence, making any speculation that it might replace the dollar as the world’s principal reserve currency seem a bad joke. The existential threat to the currency and even the European Union (EU), forced Euro-zone governments, the European Central Bank and the banking system to forge a more credible governmental, financial and regulatory structure to support the euro. [1]

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