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PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2001, 12:00am

Franc leads euro crash

Paris (March 15): The French franc today left the European Snake (joint float), dropped more than five per cent on the London market before improving to three per cent, and turned last November's Rambouillet monetary pact into a nostalgic memory.

In a dramatic announcement from Brussels, France admitted it could no longer pour out huge sums defending its currency, whose vulnerability became clear after the slide by the lira and pound and the devaluation of the peseta.

Wilson shock

London (March 16): Prime Minister Harold Wilson's decision to resign stunned the London foreign exchange and stock markets.

The pound, already under heavy pressure, lost nearly one US cent when the news reached the foreign exchanges. It had opened this morning at US$1.920, but the shock news forced it down further to US$1.9160.

Britain's ailing economic performance had plunged the pound through the psychologically important US$2 mark for the first time on March 5.

Graphic: ragg18gwz