By B. Eichengreen
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Extra resources for Currency Convertibility in the Twentieth Century: The Gold Standard and Beyond (Routledge Explorations in Economic History, 3)
The Bank of Spain in 1874 became the monopoly issuer of bank notes that were freely convertible into both gold and silver. 5:1 ratio undervalued gold. Gold was driven out of circulation, and the gold reserves of the Bank of Spain declined, but until mid-1883 trade surpluses and capital imports sustained convertibility. Because foreign holders of Spanish bonds refused to accept the terms of a conversion the Treasury was engaged in at the time, there was a capital outflow and a fall in inflows. In addition, the trade balance declined sharply from 1881 to 1883.
It suspended convertibility in 1848 in the face of French political and financial problems. The Netherlands was on a bimetallic standard in 1847, Switzerland in 1850. All three countries suspended convertibility in 1914. Belgium lost the right of note issue following the German occupation. Switzerland declared bank notes legal tender in 1914. The Netherlands prohibited gold export in 1914. Belgium devalued when it returned to gold in October 1926, and devalued again in March 1935. The Netherlands returned to gold at the pre-war parity in April 1925 and devalued in October 1936.
Deposit banks replaced them. The premium on silver disappeared once convertibility was established but, since the price of silver against gold was declining, the exchange rate against gold standard countries was unstable. By 1893 Japan recognized that it was desirable to adopt the gold standard, but the reform was not introduced until the indemnity China paid in gold for losing the Sino-Japanese war of 1894–95 enabled the government to acquire an adequate reserve. The Coinage Act of 1897 established the gold standard.
Currency Convertibility in the Twentieth Century: The Gold Standard and Beyond (Routledge Explorations in Economic History, 3) by B. Eichengreen