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The rise and potential fall of the euro: 1999 to now (FXE)

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Prior to his arrival in Brussels for the EU Summit, French President Sarkozy began Thursday with a speech in Marseille, stating that "never has the risk of disintegration been greater" for Europe than now.

For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at the summit with an aim to restore the euro's credibility.

Rumors of the euro's looming demise have been swirling. Now the euro zone's de facto leaders, Sarkozy and Merkel, are giving legitimacy to such tongue-wagging. Could the leaders simply be using the threat of such a dramatic event to push EU leaders to adopt the proposed budgetary plan and channel loans through the IMF? Or is the euro's demise, in fact, imminent?

If the euro could be meeting its maker soon, perhaps it's time to review its short yet historic life.

The official currency of 17 of the 27 European Union countries, the euro was established by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. It received its name in 1995, was introduced in non-physical form in 1999 and officially replaced national currencies in 2002.

Now the world's second-most-popular reserve currency, multiple countries peg their own currencies to the euro.

On January 5, 1999, its first day of trading, the euro closed at $1.19. During today's trading, it closed at $1.33.

Over the last 52 weeks, the wide trading range of $1.287 in January to $1.494 in May demonstrates that the euro has seen stronger and weaker times this year.

Speculation over its future, however, has reached a new high with its biggest backers showing their greatest concern to date.

Perhaps it's time to prepare for life after the euro. If that's the case, then brace yourself: 2012 could be even more interesting than 2011.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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