By A. I. Bloomfield

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In periods of business expansion the domestic assets of all central banks tended naturally to rise, and in periods of contraction to fall. But as we have seen earlier, the international assets of various central banks tended to fall in periods of expansion and to rise in periods of contraction. 93 93For a detailed statistical analysis of the inverse cyclical behavior of the international and domestic assets of the Bank of France before 1914, although not in connection with the problem under examination here, see C.

No or negligible change in either or both. 49 and domestic assets were more often in the opposite than in the same direction;" and in most cases much more often in the opposite direction. Far from central bank action before 1914 tending characteristically to accentuate the effects of gold (and other reserve) flows on commercial bank reserves and on the money supply-as the rules of the game would seem to imply-there was a tendency for those effects to be counteracted. Admittedly, however, the absolute annual changes in international assets tended in most cases to be larger than those in domestic assets, so that the counteracting effects were usually only partial.

These two banks, like the Bank of France, had the legal option of redeeming their notes in gold or silver. Instead of charging a premium on the selling price of gold, however, they usually redeemed their notes in silver coin exclusively which, under the terms of the Latin Monetary Union, was accepted at par in France, through which the bulk of their exchange transactions was conducted. In this way, the exchange rates of the Belgian and Swiss currencies vis-a-vis the French franc tended to be kept within the limits of the respective "silver points" rather than the somewhat narrower gold points and, vis-a-vis other gold currencies, to fluctuate not much more than did the French franc itself.

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