After a thirty-year pause, discussions on the future of the international monetary system (IMS) have restarted. This is partly due to the fact that the IMS has facilitated, or at least not prevented, the economic and financial imbalances that led to the recent crisis.
This paper argues that the international position of the US dollar is likely to erode in the coming years, though the speed of the process is uncertain. This will create a demand for other currencies to be used internationally as means of payment and store of value. The most likely candidates for filling the partial vacuum created by the dollar’s decline are the euro and the Chinese renminbi. The probability that the renminbi will eventually become one of the world’s key currencies is very high, but the speed of the process is uncertain.
As far as the euro is concerned, much will depend on if and how the sovereign debt crisis is resolved. Our view is that the crisis will be dealt with and that it will result in radical steps towards fiscal and financial integration. If such steps are taken, the euro will secure both internal stabilisation and a growing international role.