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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 07:14 GMT
Central banks 'shunning dollar'
Currencies superimposed on a globe
Is the dollar's global hegemony waning?
Many of the world's central banks are starting to look to the euro to fill their currency reserves instead of the dollar, a survey suggests.

The poll carried out by Central Banking Publications found 39 nations of the 65 surveyed raising their euro holdings, with 29 cutting back on the US dollar.

The dollar's sharp fall in the face of huge deficits could be one cause of the switch, the report says.

The survey was sponsored by the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland.

Losing ground

The last three months of 2004 saw the dollar slip by 7% against the euro, taking it to repeated all-time lows of more than $1.30.

The US is running a budget deficit of close to $500bn a year, funded largely by China and Japan buying large amounts of US government bonds.

Some economists have suggested that the two could ease their purchases, making it more difficult for the US to support its borrowing.

The euro seems to have come of age
Central Banking Publications
Similarly, the current account - the difference between the amount of money going out of the US and coming in - is deeply in the red, the result largely of large trade deficits.

Both factors have helped to push the dollar lower. However, the falling dollar does mean that central bank holdings of dollar reserves are losing value.

"Generally, central banks' approach to reserve management is becoming much more active as they search for higher returns," said the authors of the report.

"The euro seems to have come of age."

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