PRESS RELEASE

2003 review of the international role of the euro

17 December 2003

The European Central Bank (ECB) is today publishing its annual review of the international role of the euro. This is the third publication of its kind. As with previous issues, the review reflects the ongoing efforts of the ECB to monitor and analyse the use of the euro by non-euro area residents in global markets and countries outside the euro area.

The review focuses on developments between mid-2002 and mid-2003. It confirms that the use of the euro by non-euro area residents continues to increase gradually, is most prominent in the regions neighbouring the euro area and is driven, to some extent, by the euro area itself, as euro area investors are significant purchasers of euro-denominated international bonds. In addition, the review contains a number of new findings:

  • it takes note of the recent revisions made by the IMF to its data on global foreign exchange reserves. While the revised data confirm that there has been a gradual increase in the share of the euro over the last few years, they also show that, since the early years of Monetary Union, this share has been higher than previously indicated;
  • it presents evidence that euro area countries are increasingly using the euro when trading goods and services with non-euro area residents, possibly suggesting that the cash changeover has encouraged exporters and importers to review their settlement and invoicing practices;
  • finally, it includes a "special focus" section on the role of the City of London with regard to the use of the euro in financial markets outside the euro area.

The review can be downloaded from the ECB's website at http://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub. Hardcopies can be obtained by writing to the ECB's Press and Information Division at the address given below.

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