The main currencies are the most popular currencies in the international market Forex. They are US dollar, euro, Japanese yen, British pound sterling and Swiss franc. Sometimes, this list is supplemented still with Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and New Zealand dollar. But these three currencies belong to commodity currencies. The main currencies of the market Forex also call “major currency”. For them high rates of traded values on Forex are characteristic. First place is won certainly by US dollar. On the second place on traded values is taken by euro. The third place long time was shared by the British pound and Japanese yen. But lately, the yen won. The main currencies form Forex currency pairs, the main financial instrument in the Forex market.
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The US dollar is the main reserve currency of the world. Within the last decade more than 50% of total amount gold – currency reserves of the countries of the world were in US dollars. In 2003 — 2008, in process of strengthening of euro and accumulation of negative tendencies in economy of the USA, dollar exchange rate in relation to other currencies and its role as reserve currency decreased. From the second half of 2008, in the conditions of globalization of the crisis phenomena in world economy, growth of dollar exchange rate in relation to currencies of other countries is observed.
The dollar is universal means of payment in international business, currency shelter at various financial and political crises in other countries, and also object of the international investments, thanks to large volume of highly reliable securities – the state long-term bonds of the USA.
Creation of the international currency known euro is rather riskily but to be compensated because any of the creation attempts of any financial union taking earlier place didn’t lead to success. Euro was created as a leading currency to exchange rates in analogy with the American system. As US Dollar, euro is supported by international countries worldwide, has stability. But not everything is so ideal as well as in case of dollar because countries in which euro is applied have different level of development, unemployment.
The Japanese yen is on the third place among the currencies which are most extended in the world market though on presence volume in the market it significantly concedes to US dollar and euro. The yen is distinguished by high, almost round-the-clock liquidity around the world. The greatest demand for yen for currency transactions has, naturally, a place among Japanese to “keiretsu” meaning economic and financial associations. The yen is very sensitive to fluctuations of the Nikkei index, Japanese stock exchange and market of real estate.
The pound sterling was the main reserve currency in the majority of the countries of the world in XVIII and XIX centuries. A difficult economic situation in Great Britain after World War II and strengthening of domination of the USA in world economy led to loss by pound sterling of the most significant currency status. In the middle of 2006 it became the third most widespread reserve currency, having received splash in popularity in recent years.
The Swiss franc represents currency only of the leading European states which isn’t included neither into the European currency Union nor into number of the big seven. Though the volume of the Swiss economy is rather small, the franc is among four main currencies, adequately reflecting force and quality of economy and financial system of Switzerland. Switzerland consists in close economic relations with Germany, and consequently with the eurozone. Therefore, in the conditions of political instability in the east, euro is usually preferable to Swiss franc.