The euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the official currency of the eurozone, which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. The currency is also officially used by the institutions of the European Union and four other European countries, as well as unilaterally by two others, and is consequently used daily by some 337 million Europeans as of 2015. Outside of Europe, a number of overseas territories of EU members also use the euro as their currency.
Additionally, 210 million people worldwide as of 2013 use currencies pegged to the euro. The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar. As of August 2014, with more than €995,000,000,000 in circulation, the euro has the highest combined value of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.S. dollar. Based on International Monetary Fund estimates of 2008 GDP and purchasing power parity among the various currencies, the eurozone is the second largest economy in the world.
The name euro was officially adopted on 16 December 1995. The euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit (ECU) at a ratio of 1:1 (US$1.1743). Physical euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members. While the euro dropped subsequently to US$0.8252 within two years (26 October 2000), it has traded above the U.S. dollar since the end of 2002, peaking at US$1.6038 on 18 July 2008. Since late 2009, the euro has been immersed in the European sovereign-debt crisis which has led to the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility as well as other reforms aimed at stabilising the currency. In July 2012, the euro fell below US$1.21 for the first time in two years, following concerns raised over Greek debt and Spain's troubled banking sector. As of December 2015, the euro–dollar exchange rate stands at ~ US$1.09.(Wikipedia)
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