The international role of the euro

16th annual review of the international role of the euro

This 16th annual review of the international role of the euro published by the ECB presents an overview of developments in the use of the euro by non-euro area residents.

This report covers developments in 2016 and early 2017. This period was characterised by heightened non-economic risks stemming in particular from geopolitical developments, elections in some euro area countries, economic policy uncertainty in the wake of the outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum on EU membership and the arrival of a new US administration, as well as the continued impact of the ECB’s asset purchases on financial markets. These developments affected the international role of the euro in the review period; the currency continued to lose some ground, albeit not uniformly. For instance, the share of the euro in official holdings of foreign exchange reserves rebounded slightly in 2016 compared with the previous review period. But a number of indicators tracked in this report show the share of the euro as having declined. This was particularly the case for outstanding amounts of international debt securities and loans, issuance of foreign currency-denominated debt, foreign exchange turnover and shipments of euro banknotes to destinations outside the euro area. Overall, the euro remained unchallenged as the second most important currency in the international monetary system, but with a significant gap to the US dollar.

The international role of the euro is primarily determined by market forces and the Eurosystem neither hinders nor promotes the international use of the euro. At the same time, the ECB will continue to monitor developments and publish information on the international role of the euro on a regular basis.

Mario Draghi

President of the European Central Bank

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