Malaysia and the end of the Bretton Woods system 1965-72: disentangling from Sterling

Schenk, C.R. (2008) Malaysia and the end of the Bretton Woods system 1965-72: disentangling from Sterling. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 36(2), pp. 197-220. (doi:10.1080/03086530802180932)

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This article examines the tense and complex monetary relationship between Britain, Singapore and Malaysia in the period from 1965 to 1972. It questions the assumption that Malaysia's economic significance to Britain was 'on the wane' by the 1960s. As the second largest government holder of sterling assets in the world, Malaysia should have been able to exert considerable leverage in London over the disposition of these assets. Ultimately, however, the very scale of these assets limited Malaysia's room for manoeuvre, as it could not sell off a significant proportion of them without undermining international confidence in the exchange rate of the pound and thereby precipitating the devaluation of its remaining sterling assets. The devaluation of sterling in 1967 emerges as a watershed in relations between London and Kuala Lumpur, with the Malaysians thereafter seeking to forge a more independent monetary policy. It is clear, however, that they did not actually succeed in doing so until 1972.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Due to publishers embargo the full text of this article will not be available until December 2009.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schenk, Professor Catherine
Authors: Schenk, C.R.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Publisher:Taylor and Francis (Routledge)
First Published:First published in Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 36(2):197-220
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
413411The experience of exchange rate regime change among developing countries 1968-78Catherine SchenkEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/D001064/1Economic and Social History