The International Monetary System: A Time of Turbulence

By Jacob S. Dreyer; American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research | Go to book overview

Offshore Markets in Foreign Currencies
and National Monetary Control:
Britain, Singapore, and the
United States

Ronald I. McKinnon

During the 1960s and most of the 1970s, many writers concluded that unregulated or lightly regulated markets in foreign currencies -- loosely referred to collectively as Eurocurrencies -- provided invaluable international financial services without significantly undermining control over national money.1 This conclusion applied to countries providing the market site: Britain and Singapore are the prototypes analyzed herein. It also applied to those countries issuing internationally convertible currencies -- notably the U.S. dollar -- that are traded in European, Asian, and other offshore markets. Recent and proposed changes in banking regulations, however, and financial problems in the United States and Britain warrant a reassessment of the way Euromarkets impinge on national monetary policies.

To avoid including too many diverse countries, I shall consider the regulatory problems faced by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank on

I should like to thank officials of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Wong Pakshong and Ng Kok Song, for useful information. Helmut Mayer of the Bank for International Settlements and C. A. E. Goodhart of the Bank of England also provided helpful criticism. None, however, is responsible for the main arguments advanced in this paper.

____________________
1
See, for example, Alexander K. Swoboda, The Euro-Dollar Market: An Interpretation, Essays in International Finance, no. 64 ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, February 1968); Jiirg Niehans and John Hewson, "The Eurodollar Market and Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, vol. 8, no. 1 ( February 1976), pp. 1-27; Ronald I. McKinnon, The Eurocurrency Market, Essays in International Finance, no. 125 ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, December 1977), reprinted as chap. 9 in McKinnon, Money in International Exchange: The Convertible Currency System ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).

-341-

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