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TitleFAQ: EUR-USD bilateral exchange rate starting 1971
AuthorKarl Zandi

For the EUR-USD bilateral exchange rate series, what is the data source prior to the euro's adoption in January 1999?


Monthly time series TFXIEUZNM.US and RTFXIEUZNM.US, which describe the bilateral exchange rate between the euro and U.S. dollar (EUR per USD), are sourced from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board and supplemented by Moody's Analytics. Since the euro was adopted in 1999, how do we compute values back to 1971?

In brief: From 1971 to 1974 the rate refers to a theoretical-EUA (European Union of Account), from 1974 through 1978 to the EUA while in use, from 1979 through 1998 to the ECU (European Currency Unit), and subsequently to the euro.  Specifically, we use Eurostat table "ert_bil_eur_m."

From January 1971 to June 1974 the month-average series are theoretical, retroactive EUA rates based on the EUA basket, and vary with changes in the market value of the component currencies.  The annual values for 1971 to 1974 are averages of the 12 monthly values. The EUA officially came into existence on June 28, 1974, at 1:1 with the SDR (IMF Special Drawing Right).  The ECU's value and basket composition, upon its introduction in 1979, were identical to the EUA's. The ECU was, in turn, replaced by the euro at a rate of 1:1 on January 1, 1999. From that date, the national currencies of the euro-area became sub-divisions of the euro at irrevocably fixed rates of conversion.


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