Euro and the financial relations between Latin America and Europe: medium- and long-term implications

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Abstract The internationalisation of the euro is in its initial stages and it is still difficult to draw any definitive conclusions regarding its scope and its implications for Latin America. Indeed, the emergence of an internationally used currency is slow and subject to inertial forces. Nonetheless, several fairly robust conclusions can be inferred from the results of the document. The most plausible medium- to long-term international scenario seems to be development of an asymmetrical duopoly between the euro and the dollar. In a context of scant international monetary cooperation, this scenario could lead to high volatility between the two main international currencies, which will be a powerful destabilising factor for third countries. In terms of official international reserves, the growing financial use of the single European currency and the development of Euroland capital markets should lead to greater diversification in favour of the euro in the medium and long term. Together with other factors, the growth of the euro bond market will tend to increase the pressure to widen and deepen the euro financial market and make it more liquid. This should favour the development of better conditions for both European and third-country participants. The geographic diversification strategy implemented by the European banks, and the boom in European foreign direct investment could also favour greater international use of the euro. For Latin America, the sustained increase in the share of euro-denominated international bond issues, chiefly by the public sector, makes it necessary to consider policies for managing the currency composition of the external debt. On the other hand, the medium- to long-term consequences of an increasingly bipolar but asymmetrical international monetary system will have to be included in the Latin America national exchange rate policies, enhancing the possibility of adopting anchor baskets.
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