The Dollar As King Currency

Its record-breaking rise is stirring both fears and cheers around the world

As television cameras whirred and photographers snapped away last week, a clerk at the Paris currency exchange wrote the historic numbers on the chalkboard next to the words United States: 10.0230. In Milan, another clerk scribbled in the new price for the dollar: 2003.40 lire. The U.S. dollar, which only five years ago was the world's weakest major currency, had just passed two important milestones: 10 francs and 2,000 lire to the dollar. In New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and almost everywhere else that currencies are traded, investors and speculators were betting on the dollar with an enthusiasm that looked more...

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