European Exchange Rate Mechanism: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The European Exchange Rate Mechanism, ERM, was a system introduced by the European Community in March 1979, as part of the European Monetary System (EMS), to reduce exchange rate variability and achieve monetary stability in Europe, in preparation for Economic and Monetary Union and the introduction of a single currency, the euro, which took place on 1 January 1999. After the adoption of euro, the policy changed to linking currencies of countries outside the Eurozone to the euro (having the common currency as a central point). The goal was to improve stability of those currencies, as well as to gain an evaluation mechanism for potential Eurozone members. This mechanism is known as ERM2.


Intent and operation of the ERM

The ERM is based on the concept of fixed currency exchange rate margins, but with exchange rates variable within those margins. This is also known as a semi-pegged system. Before the introduction of the euro, exchange rates were based on the ECU, the European unit of account, whose value was determined as a weighted average of the participating currencies.

A grid (known as the Parity Grid) of bilateral rates was calculated on the basis of these central rates expressed in ECUs, and currency fluctuations had to be contained within a margin of 2.25% on either side of the bilateral rates (with the exception of the Italian lira, which was allowed a margin of 6%). Determined intervention and loan arrangements protected the participating currencies from greater exchange rates fluctuations.

Irish pound breaks parity with pound sterling

Ireland's participation in ERM resulted in the Irish pound breaking parity with the pound sterling in 1979 as very shortly after the launch of the ERM the pound sterling, not at the time an ERM currency, appreciated against all ERM currencies and continued parity would have taken the Irish pound outside its agreed band.

Pound sterling's forced withdrawal from the ERM

The United Kingdom entered the ERM in 1990, but was forced to exit the programme in 1992 after the pound sterling came under major pressure from currency speculators, including George Soros. The ensuing crash of 16 September 1992 was subsequently dubbed "Black Wednesday". There has been some revision of attitude towards this event given the UK's strong economic performance since 1992, with some commentators dubbing it "White Wednesday"[1]. Some commentators, following Norman Tebbit took to referring to ERM as an "Eternal Recession Mechanism"[2], after the UK fell into recession during the early 1990s. The UK spent over £6bn trying to keep the currency within the narrow limits with reports at the time widely noting that Soros individual profit of £1bn equated to over 12 Pound Sterling for each man, woman and child in Britain[1][2][3] and dubbing Soros as "the man who broke the Bank of England".[4]

Increase of margins

In 1993, the margin had to be expanded to 15% to accommodate speculation against the French franc and other currencies.

Replacement with the euro and ERM II

On 31 December 1998, the European Currency Unit (ECU) exchange rates of the Eurozone countries were frozen and the value of the euro, which then superseded the ECU at par, was thus established.

In 1999, ERM II replaced the original ERM. The Greek and Danish currencies were part of the new mechanism, but when Greece joined the euro in 2001, the Danish krone was left at that time as the only participant member. A currency in ERM II is allowed to float within a range of ±15% with respect to a central rate against the euro. In the case of the krone, Danmarks Nationalbank keeps the exchange rate within the narrower range of ± 2.25% against the central rate of EUR 1 = DKK 7.460 38.

EU countries that have not adopted the euro are expected to participate for at least two years in the ERM II before joining the Eurozone.

Current status of the ERM II

On 1 May 2004, the ten National Central Banks (NCBs) of the new member countries became party to the ERM II Central Bank Agreement. The national currencies themselves were to become part of the ERM II at dates to be agreed.

The Estonian kroon, Lithuanian litas, and Slovenian tolar were included in the ERM II on 28 June 2004; the Cypriot pound, the Latvian lats and the Maltese lira on 2 May 2005; the Slovak koruna on 28 November 2005.[3] The currencies of the three largest countries which joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 (the Polish zloty, the Czech koruna, and the Hungarian forint) are expected to follow eventually.

Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia joined the eurozone on 1 January 2007, 2008, 2008 and 2009 respectively, and hence left ERM II.

The Hungarian Ministry of Finance said that Hungary wants to join ERM in 2009 and adopt the euro in 2011, but experts say that the earliest date when Hungary will adopt the euro is 2012.[citation needed] Bulgaria wanted to apply for ERM II membership as soon as possible after the EU entry. Bulgaria in November 2009 has confirmed that the country will apply early 2010 to join the exchange-rate mechanism, the two-year currency stability test prior to euro adoption, and seek to switch to the common currency in 2013[4]. Romania plans to join ERM in 2010-2012.[5]

Sweden is expected to participate in ERM II in order to meet the convergence criteria required for switching currency, but has deliberately chosen to stay out of the mechanism so far. This choice is currently tolerated by the ECB, but it has warned that such an option will not be permitted for newer union members.[citation needed]

Exchange rate bands

In theory, most of the currencies are allowed to fluctuate as much as 15% from their assigned value. In practice, however, the currencies of Estonia and Lithuania are pegged tightly to the central rate, and currencies of Denmark and Latvia deviate very little (usually less than 1%) from it.

Date of entry Country Currency €1= Band Notes
Nominal Actual
1 January 1999  Denmark Krone 7.46038 2.25% <1% The Danish krone entered the ERM II in 1999, when the euro was created. See Denmark and the euro for more information.
28 June 2004  Estonia Kroon 15.6466 15% 0% The Estonian kroon had been pegged to the German mark since its re-introduction on 20 June 1992, and then to the euro.
 Lithuania Litas 3.45280 15% 0% The Lithuanian litas was pegged to the US dollar until 2 February 2002, when it switched to a euro peg.
2 May 2005[6]  Latvia Lats 0.702804 15% 1% Latvia has a currency board arrangement whose anchor switched from the SDR to the euro on 1 January 2005.

Historical reference

The former members of ERM II are the Greek drachma, Slovenian tolar, Cypriot pound, Maltese lira and Slovak koruna.

Period Country Currency €1= Band Notes
Nominal Actual
31 December 1998 —
16 January 2000
 Greece Drachma 353.109[7] 15% [citation needed]
17 January 2000 —
31 December 2000
340.750[8] [citation needed]
28 June 2004 —
31 December 2006
 Slovenia Tolar 239.640 [9] 15% 0.16%[10]
2 May 2005 —
7 December 2007
 Cyprus Pound 0.585274 15% 2.1%[11]
7 December 2007—
31 December 2007
0% The Cypriot pound has been pegged to the euro since 7 December 2007. Before then, it floated against the euro in a ±15% range.
2 May 2005 —
31 December 2007
 Malta Lira 0.429300 15% 0% The Maltese lira has been pegged to the euro since joining ERM II. Only two exceptions exist: 2005-05-02 (ECB rate: 1 EUR = 0.4288 MTL) and 2005-08-15 (ECB rate: 1 EUR = 0.4292 MTL).[12]
28 November 2005 —
16 March 2007
 Slovakia Koruna 38.4550[13][14][15] 15% 12%[16]
17 March 2007 —
27 May 2008
35.4424[17][18] 12%[19]
28 May 2008 —
31 December 2008
30.1260[20] 1.9%[21]


  1. ^ Kaletsky, Anatole, The reason that Europe is having a's the Euro, stupid, London,, retrieved 2008-12-30 
  2. ^ Tebbit, Norman, An electoral curse yet to be lifted,, retrieved 2008-12-30 
  3. ^ European Central Bank
  4. ^
  5. ^ Isarescu: Trecem la euro dupa 2012 | Eveniment | Ziarul Financiar
  6. ^ 2 May 2005 - Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II
  7. ^ 31 December 1998 - Euro central rates and intervention rates in ERM II
  8. ^ 17 January 2000 - Euro central rates and intervention rates in ERM II
  9. ^ 28 June 2004 - Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II
  10. ^ ECB historic exchange rates
  11. ^ ECB historic exchange rates
  12. ^ ECB historic exchange rates
  13. ^ 28 November 2005 - Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II
  14. ^ "Slovak Koruna Included in the ERM II". National Bank of Slovakia. 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  15. ^ European Commission. "Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II)". Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  16. ^ ECB historic exchange rates
  17. ^ Radoslav Tomek and Meera Louis (2007-03-17). "Slovakia, EU Raise Koruna's Central Rate After Appreciation". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  18. ^ 19 March 2007 - Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II
  19. ^ ECB historic exchange rates
  20. ^ 29 May 2008 - Euro central rates and compulsory intervention rates in ERM II
  21. ^ ECB historic exchange rates

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address