European monetary system and european currency

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The euro as a medium of exchange

As for the second function of money (medium of exchange), the euro needs more time to develop as a payment currency for goods and services in international trade and as a vehicle currency in the foreign exchange markets. Although no precise data are available at this stage, the value of world exports denominated in euro is not likely to differ significantly from that of euro area exports. By contrast, the value of world exports settled in US dollars is nearly four times as high as that of US exports. This difference can easily be explained by the combined and reinforcing effects of network externalities and economies of scale in the use of a predominant international currency, as is the case with the US dollar.

The euro as a unit of account

The use of the euro as a unit of account (its third general function) is closely linked to its use for the other two main functions. The use of a currency as a unit of account is, in a way, the basis for its use as a store of value or as a medium of exchange. The value stored in euro, or the payments made in euro, will tend to be recorded in euro. Therefore, we can conclude that the euro is playing an ever larger role as a unit of account for all the financial assets linked to the use of the euro as an investment and financing currency, and has a much less relevant role as a standard for pricing goods and services, owing to the widespread use of the US dollar as a payment and vehicle currency in international trade. The convenience of using a single standard for pricing commodities in the international markets, allowing traders to make direct comparisons between prices, makes it difficult for the euro to acquire a significant role in this respect. We can conclude that the development of the euro as a unit of account will follow the pace at which the issuers or suppliers of assets, goods or services priced or quoted in euro obtain a predominant position in the international markets.

The official use of the euro

The euro also has official uses as reserve, intervention and pegging currency, all three functions being strongly interrelated in most cases.

With regard to its official use, the euro is currently the second most international currency after the US dollar, this being a legacy of the former euro area national currencies.

Compared with the former euro area national currencies, there has been a technical decline in the share of the euro as a reserve (and, therefore, as an intervention) currency, mainly owing to the fact that such former national currencies became domestic assets within the euro area. However, there are good reasons to expect an increase in international public use of the euro as a reserve and intervention currency, inasmuch as the public authorities understand that it is worthwhile to allocate their foreign reserves among the main international currencies and to give the euro a relevant share in accordance with its internal and external stability and the economic and financial importance of the euro area.

In connection with the use of the euro as a pegging currency, approximately 30 countries outside the euro area currently have exchange rate regimes involving the euro to a greater or lesser extent. These exchange rate regimes are: currency boards (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia); currencies pegged to the euro (Cyprus, FYROM [the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] and 14 African countries in which the CFA franc is the legal tender); currencies pegged to a basket of currencies including the euro, in some cases with a fluctuation band (Hungary, Iceland, Poland, Turkey, etc.); systems of managed floating in which the euro is used informally as the reference currency (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Slovenia); and, last but not least, European Union currencies pegged to the euro through a co-operative arrangement, namely ERM II. As you well know, Denmark and Greece joined ERM II on 1 January 1999 with a ±2.25% fluctuation band for the Danish krone and a ±15% fluctuation band for the Greek drachma. Although the euro remains in second position after the US dollar in terms of its official use, the role of the euro will increase in the future, without a doubt.

The position of the Eurosystem concerning the international role of the euro

As a general conclusion stemming from the previous analysis of the use of the euro in the world economy, we can affirm that the euro is the second most widely used currency, behind the US dollar and ahead of the Japanese yen. The private use of the euro as an investment and financing currency and its official use as a reserve, intervention and pegging currency are increasing rapidly, while it is developing at a slower pace as a payment currency in the exchange of goods and services. The use of the euro as a unit of account is linked to its use as store of value and a medium of exchange.

Реферат опубликован: 12/08/2008