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Will The Drive To Devalue The Dollar Lead To A Plaza Accord 2.0?
10-04-2019, 02:52 PM,
Will The Drive To Devalue The Dollar Lead To A Plaza Accord 2.0?
Will The Drive To Devalue The Dollar Lead To A Plaza Accord 2.0?

The Lead-Up to the Plaza AccordTo understand the Plaza Accord, one has to look back to August 15, 1971. On this day Richard Nixon closed the gold window. This step de facto ended the Bretton Woods system, which had been created in 1944 in the New Hampshire town of the same name and was formally terminated in 1973. The era of gold-backed currency was well and truly over; the era of flexible exchange rates had begun. Without a gold anchor, the exchange rate of every currency pair was supposed to be driven exclusively by supply and demand. National central banks — and indirectly governments as well — were at liberty to make their own decisions, free of the tight restrictions imposed by a gold standard, but they had to bear the costs of their decisions in the form of the devaluation or appreciation of their currencies. While a gold-backed currency aims to impose discipline on nations, a system of flexible exchange rates enables national idiosyncrasies to be preserved, with the exchange rate serving as a balancing mechanism.However, unlike any other currency system, the system of free-floating currencies invites governments and central banks to manipulate exchange rates practically at will. Without reciprocal agreements, which can provide planning security to export-oriented companies in particular, the danger of international chaos is very high, as the system of flexible exchange rates lacks an external anchor.In order to prevent this chaos, a repetition of the traumatic devaluation spiral of the 1930s, and the resulting disintegration of the global economy, IMF member nations agreed in 1976 at a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, that “the exchange rate should be economically justified. Countries should avoid manipulating exchange rates in order to avoid the need to regulate the balance of payments or gain an unfair competitive advantage." And in this multilateral spirit — albeit under an US initiative that was strongly tinged by self-interest — an agreement was struck nine years later that has entered the economic history books as the Plaza Accord.Read the entire article

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