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Commentaries by Benn Steil

Benn Steil

Director of International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations

Benn Steil is Director of International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War" (Simon and Schuster, 2018).
  • Aug 25, 2023

    At the end of World War II, the United States accounted for more than half the world’s economic output and gold reserves. The United Kingdom was effectively bankrupt, with the remnants of the sterling area bound together by capital and trade controls. Once the British pound became convertible in July 1947, owing to US insistence, it succumbed to overwhelming selling pressure. The dollar, which was pegged to gold at $35 an ounce, was buoyed by America’s privileged position within the newly formed International Monetary Fund and quickly established itself as the bedrock of global trade and finance.

  • Jun 30, 2017

    The RMB’s fall against the dollar reflects the slowing of China’s debt-fueled economic growth and the accumulation of default risks. Chinese residents and companies are, not surprisingly, seeking new ways (legal and otherwise) to move money out of the country.

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