After almost three decades of operation of the international financial system, the Bretton Woods system finally went down in history due to growing structural imbalances between countries, which led to increasing volatility and speculation throughout the year from June 1972 to June 1973. At this time, the United Kingdom, faced with deficit problems, initially released the pound sterling into a floating exchange rate. Then the pound, devolving further, lost 11 percent of its value by February 1973, along with the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen. In the end, this led to the fact that the European Economic Community also provided its currencies with floating exchange rates.

The problems of the Bretton Woods system were based on a decrease in confidence in the dollar's ability to maintain full convertibility and the reluctance of surplus countries to overestimate their currency, which causes an adverse impact on their foreign trade. Despite the attempt of a Group of Ten finance ministers to sign the Smithsonian Agreements in December 1971, since 1973, the international financial system has further focused on the floating exchange rate market that has entered into force. After that, several attempts were made to restore the controlled systems, each of which had a different degree of success. The most famous of these was the European Exchange Rate Regulation Mechanism of the 1990s, which eventually led to the formation of the European Monetary Union.