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Bretton Woods Agreement

In 1944 in Bretton Woods in the USA, members of the United Nations signed an agreement to establish a currency exchange rate system for economically developed nations. The US dollar became the reserve currency since, following the end of World War Two, the USA could guarantee the exchange of their currency for a fixed amount of gold. To support a system of international payments, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) was created. However, the Bretton Woods agreement did not take into account the fact that countries would seek to accumulate as big a dollar reserve as possible. This meant that the US could be put in a situation where it couldn’t cover the reserves using its gold. When Western Germany and France began to exchange their dollar reserves for gold in 1971 the US abandoned the obligations that they had assumed since 1944.

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