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Why is the Euro punching below it’s weight?

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  • Ilzetzki, Ethan
  • Reinhart, Carmen M.
  • Rogoff, Kenneth S.

Abstract

On the twentieth anniversary of its inception, the euro has yet to expand its role as an international currency. We document this fact with a wide range of indicators including its role as an anchor or reference in exchange rate arrangements—which we argue is a portmanteau measure—and as a currency for the denomination of trade and assets. On all these dimensions, the euro comprises a far smaller share than that of the US dollar. Furthermore, that share has been roughly constant since 1999. By some measures, the euro plays no larger a role than the Deutschemark and French franc that it replaced. We explore the reasons for this underperformance. While the leading anchor currency may have a natural monopoly, a number of additional factors have limited the euro’s reach, including lack of financial center, limited geopolitical reach, and US and Chinese dominance in technology research. Most important, in our view, is the comparatively scarce supply of (safe) euro-denominated assets, which we document. The European Central Bank’ lack of policy clarity may have also played a role. We show that the euro era can be divided into a “Bundesbank-plus” period and a “Whatever it Takes” period. The first shows a smooth transition from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and continued to stabilize German inflation. The second period is characterised by an expanding ECB arsenal of credit facilities to European banks and sovereigns.

Suggested Citation

  • Ilzetzki, Ethan & Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2020. "Why is the Euro punching below it’s weight?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 104100, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:104100
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/104100/
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    2. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Schilling, Linda M. & Uhlig, Harald, 2022. "Cryptocurrencies, currency competition, and the impossible trinity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
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    4. Radostin Neykov & Caroline Robert, 2021. "The Role of the Euro in the Eastern Partnership Countries," European Economy - Discussion Papers 138, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    5. Gergely Hudecz & Edmund Moshammer & Alexander Raabe & Gong Cheng, 2021. "The euro in the world," Discussion Papers 16, European Stability Mechanism, revised 27 Oct 2021.
    6. Bahaj, Saleem, 2020. "Jumpstarting an International Currency," CEPR Discussion Papers 14793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Popov, Alexander A. & Steininger, Lea, 2023. "Monetary Policy and Local Industry Structure," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 333, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    8. Thiago Revil T. Ferreira & Samer Shousha, 2020. "Scarcity of Safe Assets and Global Neutral Interest Rates," International Finance Discussion Papers 1293, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Frank Westermann, 2023. "On the Geographical Dispersion of Euro Currency Trading: An Analysis of the First 20 Years and a Comparison to the RMB," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 65(2), pages 263-287, June.
    10. Michele Ca’ Zorzi & Luca Dedola & Georgios Georgiadis & Marek Jarocinski & Livio Stracca & Georg Strasser, 2023. "Making Waves: Monetary Policy and Its Asymmetric Transmission in a Globalized World," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 19(2), pages 95-144, June.
    11. Angella Faith Montfaucon, 2022. "Euro usage in international trade amidst threats to multilateralism: evidence from Malawian imports," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 485-507, May.
    12. Thiago Revil T. Ferreira & Samer Shousha, 2021. "Supply of Sovereign Safe Assets and Global Interest Rates," International Finance Discussion Papers 1315, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. Serguei Kaniovski & Thomas Url & Helmut Hofer & Viola Garstenauer, 2021. "A Long-run Macroeconomic Model of the Austrian Economy (A-LMM 2.0). New Results (2021)," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 67377.

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    JEL classification:

    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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