Ricardo Fernholz, Kris Mitchener, Marc Weidenmier, 18 May 2017

There has been speculation that the dollar may soon be displaced by the euro or renminbi as the primary international currency. This column examines the demise of silver-based monetary standards in the 19th century to explore price dynamics when a money ceases to function as a global unit of account. According to new data on the historical prices of agricultural commodities, silver ceased functioning as a global price anchor in the mid-1890s. Over the same period, the volatility of agricultural commodity prices also declined.

Joshua Aizenman, Hiro Ito, 23 June 2016

In the aftermath of the Asian financial crises in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, many Asian emerging market economies started rapidly increasing their international reserve holdings. This column assesses the East Asian economies’ openness to cross-border capital flows and exchange rate arrangements over the past decades. Financial globalisation has made asset prices and interest rates in these economies more vulnerable to global movements of capital, and to US monetary policy. If China succeeds in efforts to internationalise its currency, the dynamics between the US and Asia will most likely change. For now, however, the Asian region’s international finance continues to be dollar-centric.

Linda Goldberg, Signe Krogstrup, John Lipsky, Hélène Rey, 26 July 2014

The dollar’s dominant role in international trade and finance has proved remarkably resilient. This column argues that financial stability – and the policy and institutional frameworks that underpin it – are important new determinants of currencies’ international roles. While old drivers still matter, progress achieved on financial-stability reforms in major currency areas will greatly influence the future roles of their currencies.

Jeffrey Frankel, 06 December 2013

Except for the period 1992-2000, the dollar’s role as an international currency has been slowly declining since 1976. Since 2010, there has been another pause in this decline – somewhat surprising, given that the financial crisis began in the US, and given Congress’ recent flirtations with default. The dollar’s resilience as the world’s reserve currency is due to a lack of good alternatives – the euro has its own problems, and the yuan only accounts for 2.2% of forex transactions.

Barry Eichengreen, Arnaud Mehl, Livia Chiţu, 23 May 2012

Conventional wisdom states that the dollar took over as the leading international currency after the Second World War. This column presents new evidence from the bond markets suggesting it was much earlier in the 1920s. This implies that inertia and lock-in effects in international currencies are not all they’re cracked up to be and that the shift to a multipolar currency system might happen sooner than commonly believed.

Jeffrey Frankel, 10 October 2011

Over the last few years, use of China’s currency for international trade has been growing steadily. Some argue this is the start of a journey that will see the renminbi displace the dollar and become the international reserve currency within a decade. This column asks whether such prophecies are realistic by looking at how other international currencies established themselves.

Willem Buiter, Ebrahim Rahbari, 28 June 2011

The strong-dollar rhetoric of the US government contrasts with a weak-dollar reality. This column argues that talking a strong-dollar talk while walking a weak-dollar walk has damaged the reputational capital of the US monetary and fiscal authorities. That has reduced their ability to use statements of intent or announcements of future policy actions to influence markets.

Barry Eichengreen, 10 January 2011

The dollar’s key role in international markets is once again in the spotlight. This column introduces a new book by Barry Eichengreen: Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System. As the author puts it, “If you were worried by talk of currency war late last year, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Kati Suominen, 09 July 2010

The global crisis has led some to question the dollar’s place as the dominant currency. This column discusses three camps in the literature: those advocating a new synthetic global currency, those arguing that a new reserve currency will emerge, and those suggesting a return to sharing the role. It concludes that talk of the dollar’s death – or even its decline – are exaggerated.

Linda Goldberg, 31 March 2010

Is the dollar still the dominant international currency? This column argues that the answer is “yes”. The dollar is used as a major form of cash currency, and is the main currency for exchange rate pegs and for invoicing foreign transactions. Network externalities create inertia – everyone uses the dollar because everyone else is using the dollar.

Maurizio Habib, 28 March 2010

Does the dollar enjoy an “exorbitant privilege”, in which US residents pay relatively low interest on their foreign liabilities while receiving relatively high returns on their foreign assets? This column argues that the answer is “yes”, while the excess returns are not explained by different risks between the US and elsewhere.

Rebecca Hellerstein, William Ryan, 06 February 2010

Will the dollar lose its dominant role in international transactions? This column argues that this will happen quite slowly, if at all. It presents new evidence that in developing economies, demand for dollars hinges much more on historical factors than on recent experience. The highest inflation rate recorded within a country over the past 30 years explains flows of cash dollars more compellingly than recent inflation rates.

Eduardo Levy Yeyati, Piero Ghezzi, Christian Broda, 16 October 2009

Many expect the dollar to continue to depreciate over the foreseeable future. This column suggests that it may strengthen in 2010 if the Federal Reserve exits quantitative easing sooner than its counterparts and the US economy enjoys a strong rebound.

Anton Brender, Emile Gagna, Florence Pisani, 21 July 2009

The crisis has broken the close correlation between differences in expected interest rates and the euro-dollar exchange rate. This column attributes that to the sharp increase in risk aversion triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It argues that fluctuations in risk aversion explain the path followed by the euro-dollar exchange rate since the beginning of the financial crisis.

Marc Flandreau, 23 July 2008

Will the dollar lose its place as the premier international currency? This column argues that the previous episode of dethroning, in which the dollar overtook the pound, suggests that economic fundamentals, rather than network externalities, drive the choice of a great global currency. Occasionally, it takes an economic historian to remind his economist colleagues that history may not matter as much as one would want to believe.

Jeffrey Frankel, 18 March 2008

One of the world’s leading international economists explains how the euro could surpass the dollar as the premier international currency and examines the geopolitical implications of such a shift.

Richard Baldwin, 20 November 2007

In a May 2007 essay, Martin Feldstein argued that a drop in US mortgage refinancing would raise US personal saving and this would necessitate a fall in the dollar. That’s looking pretty good at the moment. Here his basic logic is explained.

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