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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Forex History of early 1950

Entering into the 1950s, the United States of America had a distinct advantage over war-torn Europe. While Germany was heavily sanctioned, England, France, Italy, and several other Old World nations were just coming to terms with the heavy investment needed to rebuild their countries.As a way to make it easier for the rest of the world to rebuild, the Bretton Woods Agreement was adopted. It was innocuously simple: in an effort to keep the United States of America (USA) from buying everything in sight, the Bretton Woods Agreement kept the USA in check by requiring all foreign currencies be pegged to the US Dollar. Some pegs were strong, some pegs were weak, but at the end of the day they never moved more than 1% in any direction. Like today's problem with the Chinese Yuan, forced to a peg against the dollar, it kept a constant, controlled flow of US dollars out of the country.The peg would not have been so bad if not for the fact that the US dollar also had a unique relationship with gold. Just like currencies, gold was pegged to the dollar at a fixed value of US$35/ounce. What made it even worse was that US currency, at the time, was directly exchangeable for gold. This strategy was fine as long as the Fort Knox gold reserves exceeded $23 billion.After World War II, the USA became the primary economic super power. Many foreign countries began to acquire US currency in lieu of gold. The dollar gained prominence in a way no other currency ever had before.At the same time, we began to see the rebuilding of the Old World and foreign trade began to gain momentum. In 1950, foreign countries held US $8 billion. We also saw the oil business begin its ascent as a prominent import/export industry


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