The U.S. Dollar’s exchange rate, as expressed on any US Dollar exchange rate history chart, will only tell the story of how the dollar has performed against another specific currency. FOREX trades are made strictly in pairs, as one country’s currency versus another. How the U.S. Dollar performs against the Euro Dollar may be totally different than its price relationship to, say, the Japanese Yen.
The U.S. Dollar is the most traded financial currency of any in the FOREX market. All the most favored trades include the Dollar as one of the pair. The most often traded pair, by the way, is the Euro Dollar against the U.S. Dollar. When this trade is entered into by investors, they are betting that the relationship of the Euro and the U.S. Dollar will go the way they predict. If the trade is long, they are expecting the Euro to increase in value. If the trade is short, they are hoping for the opposite.
Back in July, 1944, at the height of the Second World War, 730 representatives from all the 44 Allied nations met at a hotel in New Hampshire for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. Obviously, delegates from Germany and Japan were not in attendance, since those countries were not part of the Allied group. It was during this conference that the IMF (International Monetary Fund) was created and a system which became known as the Bretton Woods System was put into operation.
Looking at a US Dollar exchange rate history chart from that time shows the dollar to be the strongest world currency, but the war was very expensive. This system was meant to establish rules for international monetary policy and for the financial relations between member countries and their individual currencies. These rules obligated countries signing the accord to adopt financial and monetary policies that would keep the exchange rates of their respective currencies within a certain range as they related to the current value of gold.
This all changed, however, when in 1971, the U.S. unilaterally went off the gold standard by canceling the convertibility of dollars directly into gold. No longer requiring its currency to be backed by gold, the U.S. was free to print as much money as it liked. Many experts see this event as the cause of the financial meltdown suffered in the world beginning in 2007.
Currencies are now said to ‘float’ and their values, relative to one another, continually change. Bad economic news in a country can often cause their currency’s value to drop. Good news will frequently have the opposite effect.
The U.S. Dollar is currently traded against all major world currencies. This includes the Euro, the Yen, the Pound and the Swiss Franc. For an accurate US Dollar exchange rate history chart to be truly representative of dollar strength, it would have to be compared to a basket of all these individual currencies.