A Eurocurrency market is a money market that provides banking services to a variety of customers by using foreign currencies located outside of the domestic marketplace. The concept does not have anything to do with the European Union or the banks associated with the member countries, although the origins of the concept are heavily derived from the region. Instead, it represents any deposit of foreign currencies into a domestic bank. For example, if Japanese yen is deposited into a bank in the United States, it is considered to be operating under the auspices of the Eurocurrency market.
This market has its roots in the World War II era. While the war was going on, political challenges caused by the takeover of the continent by the Axis Powers meant that there was a limited marketplace for trading in foreign currency. With no friendly government operations within the European marketplace, the traditional economies of the nations were displaced, along with the currencies. To combat this, especially due to the fact that many American companies were tied to the well-being of business behind enemy lines, banks across the world began to deposit large sums of foreign currency, creating a new money market.
One of the factors that make the Eurocurrency market unique compared to many other money market accounts is the fact that it is largely unregulated by government entities. Since the banks deal with a variety of currencies issued by foreign entities, it is difficult for domestic governments to intervene, particularly in the United States. With the establishment of the flexible exchange rate system in 1973, however, the U.S. Federal Reserve System was given powers to stabilize lending currencies in the event of a crisis situation. One problem that arises is that these crises are not defined by the regulations, meaning that intervention must be established based on each case and the Federal Reserve must work directly with central banks around the world to resolve the matter. This adds to the volatility of the market.
Despite its name, the Eurocurrency market is primarily influenced by the value of the American dollar, since nearly two-thirds of all assets around the globe are represented by U.S. currency. The challenge with foreign banks revolves around the fact that regulations enforced by the Federal Reserve are really only enforceable within the U.S. The taxation level and exchange rate of the American dollar varies depending on the nation; for example, an American dollar in Vietnam is worth more than it is in Canada, further influencing the market.