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The Euro May Over the Next 15 Years Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Currency

  • Menzie D. Chinn
  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

The euro has arisen as a credible eventual competitor to the dollar as leading international currency, much as the dollar rose to challenge the pound 70 years ago. This paper uses econometrically-estimated determinants of the shares of major currencies in the reserve holdings of the world's central banks. Significant factors include: size of the home country, rate of return, and liquidity in the relevant home financial center (as measured by the turnover in its foreign exchange market). There is a tipping phenomenon, but changes are felt only with a long lag (we estimate a weight on the preceding year's currency share around .9). The equation correctly predicts out-of-sample a (small) narrowing in the gap between the dollar and euro over the period 1999-2007. This paper updates calculations regarding possible scenarios for the future. We exclude the scenario where the United Kingdom joins euroland. But we do take into account of the fact that London has nonetheless become the de facto financial center of the euro, more so than Frankfurt. We also assume that the dollar continues in the future to depreciate at the trend rate that it has shown on average over the last 20 years. The conclusion is that the euro may surpass the dollar as leading international reserve currency as early as 2015.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13909.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13909
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  1. Carsten Detken & Philipp Hartmann, 2000. "The Euro and International Capital Markets," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 27, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
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  3. Menzie Chinn & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2007. "Will the Euro Eventually Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Reserve Currency?," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 283-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Gabriele Galati & Philip D. Wooldridge, 2006. "The euro as a reserve currency: a challenge to the pre-eminence of the US dollar?," BIS Working Papers 218, Bank for International Settlements.
  14. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1989. "The dollar in the 1990s: competitiveness and the challenges of new economic blocs," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 245-290.
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  17. Ron Alquist & Menzie D. Chinn, 2002. "Productivity and the Euro-Dollar Exchange Rate Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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