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The dollar's depreciation during the early floating rate period, 1973 - 1981, was a symptom of the Great Inflation. In that environment, sterilized foreign exchange interventions were ineffective in halting the dollar's decline, but showed a limited ability to smooth dollar movements. Only after the Volcker FOMC changed its monetary-policy approach and demonstrated a willingness to maintain a disinflationary stance despite severe economic weakness and high unemployment did the dollar begin a sustained appreciation. Also contributing to the ineffectiveness of the interventions was the Desk's method of operation.
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