An exchange rate is the price at which two currencies can be exchanged against each other. This is used for trade between the two currency zones. Exchange rates can be classified as either floating or fixed. In the former, day-to-day movements in exchange rates are determined by the market; in the latter, governments intervene in the market to buy or sell their currency to balance supply and demand at a fixed exchange rate.
In cases where a country has control of its own currency, that control is exercised either by a central bank or by a Ministry of Finance. The institution that has control of monetary policy is referred to as the monetary authority. Monetary authorities have varying degrees of autonomy from the governments that create them. In the United States, the Federal Reserve System operates without direct oversight by the legislative or executive branches. A monetary authority is created and supported by its sponsoring government, so independence can be reduced by the legislative or executive authority that creates it.
Several countries can use the same name for their own separate currencies (for example, dollar in Australia, Canada and the United States). By contrast, several countries can also use the same currency (for example, the euro), or one country can declare the currency of another country to be legal tender. For example, Panama and El Salvador have declared U.S. currency to be legal tender, and from 1791 to 1857, Spanish silver coins were legal tender in the United States. At various times countries have either re-stamped foreign