Europeans ushered in both a new year and a new currency last week. Fears of mass confusion, price hikes, and "euro rage" from frustrated consumers so far have appeared unfounded - with a few exceptions. In Austria, computer breakdowns tied up systems Wednesday. In Italy, police had to settle a few disputes. Overall, though, the change went so well that the euro jumped more than a penny against the dollar in just one day.
Still, the currency many predicted would rival the US dollar has so far proved disappointing. Since its debut on the global currency markets three years ago, its value has dropped off sharply.