What is the Euro?
“the official currency of the European Union, and is currently in use in 16 of the 27 Member States. The states, known collectively as the Eurozone, are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal,Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The currency is also used in a further five European countries, with and withoutformal agreements, and is consequently used daily by some 327 million Europeans. Over 175 million people worldwide use currencies which are pegged to the euro, including more than 150 million people in Africa.”
The Euro’s 10 Year Anniversary:
In case you didn’t know the euro is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year. The name was officially adopted on December 16, 1995 and was introduced to the financial markets on January 1, 1999. Three years later, on January 1, 2002, the euro entered circulation and has emerged as the world’s second reserve currency behind the US dollar.
As is the case with nearly any financial market, the euro has exhibited its fair share of volatility during that time. The table above, courtesy of Wikipedia, does a great job depicting some of that volatility.
The two highlighted fields illustrate the extreme high and extreme low for the euro vs the U.S. dollar. The euro was introduced at $1.18 vs. the U.S. dollar and spent the next 22 months falling before hitting its all time low of $0.8252. The euro spent the next few years trading between $1.04 and the low $0.80’s. After that multi year consolidation, in 2003, the euro finally traded and held above parity ($1.00) with the greenback. Since then, investors have steadily bought the euro which has helped it emerge as a dominant world currency.
2007-2009 Global Bear Market:
The euro hit its all time high of $1.599 in July 2008 in the middle of the great 2007-2009 global bear market. Then investors flocked to the perceived safety of the U.S. dollar as the financial world nearly collapsed. A few months later, in October 2008, after “correcting” -22%, the euro resumed its uptrend and on December 3, 2009 hit a high fresh 2009 high of $1.512.
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