Bretton Woods Agreement

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DEFINITION of 'Bretton Woods Agreement'

A landmark system for monetary and exchange rate management established in 1944. The Bretton Woods Agreement was developed at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, from July 1 to July 22, 1944. 

Major outcomes of the Bretton Woods conference included the formation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and, most importantly, the proposed introduction of an adjustable pegged foreign exchange rate system. Currencies were pegged to gold and the IMF was given the authority to intervene when an imbalance of payments arose.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bretton Woods Agreement'

One of the proposals of the Bretton Woods conference was that currencies should be convertible for trade and other current account transactions.

Following the end of World War II in 1945, Europe and the rest of the world embarked on a lengthy period of reconstruction and economic development to recover from the devastation inflicted by the war. Although gold initially served as the base reserve currency, the U.S dollar gained momentum as an international reserve currency that was linked to the price of gold.

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