The Bretton Woods Agreements Order in Council (SI 1946/36) was a landmark decision in the history of international finance. It was signed by 44 countries in July 1944 in New Hampshire, USA, and aimed to create a stable international monetary system in the aftermath of World War II.
The Bretton Woods Agreements established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank as two key institutions that would work together to promote international economic cooperation and development. Along with the establishment of these institutions, the agreement also created a system of fixed exchange rates, where currencies were tied to the US dollar at a fixed rate that could be adjusted only with the approval of the IMF.
The Bretton Woods system worked relatively well in the post-war years, with the US dollar acting as the world’s reserve currency. However, as economic conditions changed and trade imbalances emerged, the system came under increasing strain. The US dollar’s role as the reserve currency was challenged, and in 1971, the US government under President Nixon ended the convertibility of the US dollar into gold, effectively ending the Bretton Woods system.
Despite its eventual demise, the Bretton Woods Agreements Order in Council (SI 1946/36) remains an important landmark in the history of international finance. It provided a framework for international cooperation in the post-war years and helped to build a more stable and prosperous global economy.
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