By: Carol Bertaut, Bastian von Beschwitz, and Stephanie Curcuru
For most of the last century, the preeminent role of the U.S. dollar in the global economy has been supported by the size and strength of the U.S. economy, its stability and openness to trade and capital flows, and strong property rights and the rule of law. As a result, the depth and liquidity of U.S. financial markets is unmatched, and there is a large supply of extremely safe dollar-denominated assets. This note reviews the use of the dollar in international reserves, as a currency anchor, and in transactions. By most measures the dollar is the dominant currency and plays an outsized international role relative to the U.S. share of global GDP (see Figure 1). That said, this dominance should not be taken for granted and the note ends with a discussion of possible challenges to the dollar’s status.