I know countries can still buy USD on open forex market. But has US ever officially de-coupled USD with another country?

Hong Kong’s dollar peg faces new scrutiny as security law looms | Financial Times

Washington’s decision to strip the territory of its special trading privileges, in retaliation for China’s controversial new security law, has raised fears in some quarters that Hong Kong’s currency peg with the dollar could be abandoned.

That would, according to UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday, threaten “what has long been the jewel in [China’s] economic crown”.

I skip some paras.

Hong Kong’s dollar was pegged to its US counterpart in 1983 to stop the currency’s free fall as London and Beijing thrashed out the then British colony’s return to China.

Hong Kong Dollar Peg: How vulnerable is it and if it breaks, how will it happen? Explained

The risk for the peg is that the US would limit Hong Kong banks from accessing greenbacks, severing links, and triggering chaos.

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    I don't think US can unpeg another country's currency, and I don't think that the USD has ever been pegged to any other country's currency. pegging currency is a unilateral relationship - countries can peg to US currency without the consent of the USG. OTOH, I believe that at least one country has pegged to the dollar then changed their mind and unpegged - Thailand for example.
    – MCW
    Jul 6, 2020 at 13:32
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    @MarkC.Wallace is correct; the US cannot say what another country can unilaterally do. Many South American nations have had a USD peg at various points in history, but these were all initiatives by these South American countries and not by the US.
    – gktscrk
    Jul 6, 2020 at 13:42
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    Just to be clear, I think this is a good question. Supported by research but perhaps based on an incomplete understanding of international currency trading, but if I'm right, then this is the kind of question where SE shines. Imagine how difficult it would be to research this question.
    – MCW
    Jul 6, 2020 at 13:47
  • On the other hand, the US is considering breaking the Hong Kong peg
    – MCW
    Jul 8, 2020 at 18:26
  • @MarkC.Wallace thanks for differentiating. so is separate question if US has broken pegs with other countries like Hong Kong?
    – user8309
    Jul 24, 2020 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


No, because the US dollar has never been pegged to another currency in the first place.

However, the gold standard was arguably a similar concept, and that ended in 1933.

Here is an overview of how currency pegs work in the modern world economy. It's not necessarily a mutual decision as the question seems to assume. Other currencies are normally pegged to the US dollar, because it is still the leading global reserve currency. This is basically a domestic decision rather one made by the US. There are probably many historical examples where a currency pegged to the USD removed the peg. For example, Argentina pegged its currency to the USD from 1991 to 2002.

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    Another really good answer. I'd like to specially call out that pegging one's currency to another is a unilateral decision of the, er, pegger (in this case Hong Kong). The peggee (the US) can whine about it or encourage it, but ultimately its not their choice and they can't stop another country from doing or not doing that. This also caused a lot of tension with China around the turn of the 21st century, as their economy had grown enough that the Yuan "tail" was capable of affecting the wag of the entire dog.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 6, 2020 at 16:06

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