Which country has the highest currency in the world? Kuwaiti Dinar, quite simple, isn’t. But despite its value, it doesn’t dominate the world’s currency markets. Without a doubt, American dollar is the most powerful monetary unit in the entire world.
On a general basis, a currency’s performance is calculated by comparing it to another currency, which acts as a market standard and in most cases, the American dollar fulfills that role.
If you are a history student or have an interest in the history of coinage, then you might know that there was a time when the world’s currencies were dominated by British and Spanish monetary units. But it’s certainly the US dollar right now. I think we have slightly deviated from our main motive. Okay, let’s start with the list of the highest currencies in the world.
Note: Underlying exchange rates subject to change.
14. New Zealand Dollar
$5 banknote obverse
Country: New Zealand
Exchange Rate: 1 NZD = 0.70 USD
The New Zealand dollar was first introduced as the nation’s monetary unit in 1967. The currency is subdivided into 100 cents with a total of 10 denominations (5 banknotes and 5 coins), the smallest being 10 cent coin. Initially, there were further lower denominations but were later abolished due to higher costs and continued inflation.
In most of the 21st century, the New Zealand dollar has been one of the 10 most-traded currencies in the world and was accountable for about 2.0% of foreign exchange market daily turnover back in 2013.
13. Libyan dinar
Exchange Rate: 1 LYD = 0.73 USD
It first came into the existence in 1971 to replace the British pound at par. A Libyan dinar is subdivided into 1000 Dirhams, with five banknote denominations and four coin denominations. It is issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Libya, which supervises banks and regulates credit systems throughout the country.
12. Singapore Dollar
Singapore Dollar conversion rate
Exchange Rate: 1 SGD = 0.74 USD
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the Bank of International Settlements, the Singapore dollar came out as the 12th highest traded currency in the world. In 2012, the total currency in circulation was about $29.1 billion. Apart from Singapore, the Singapore dollar is also an accepted tender in Brunei after the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Brunei Darussalam.
11. Canadian Dollar
10 dollars note, Bank of Montreal (1935)
Exchange Rate: 1 CAD = 0.78 USD
Even though the Canadian dollar was in existence during the 1840s, the currency was uniformized throughout the country only after the Currency Act in the year 1871. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the Canadian dollar was the fifth largest reserve currency in the world, which was responsible for about 2% of total global reserves.
It is popular among foreign bank and traders due to Canada’s sound economic health and political stability. According to news reports, business in various regions of the United States are now accepting Canadian dollars mainly for business purposes.
10. Australian Dollar
20 Australian Dollars Banknote (1966-1994)
Exchange Rate: 1 AUD = $0.77
The Australian dollar is the current monetary unit used in the Commonwealth of Australia, including numerous islands in this region. In 2016, the Australian dollar became the 5th most traded currency in the world, after US dollar, Euro, Japanese yen and pound sterling and was responsible for 6.9% of the world’s daily share.
The Australian dollar is one of the most popular currencies among the forex traders due to Australia’s relatively stable economy and government, marginal intervention in the foreign exchange market by the central government and its greater exposure to most of the big Asian markets.
9. United States Dollar
Federal US Dollar banknote
Country: The United States
Do you know where the iconic $ sign came from? The origin of the dollar sign can be traced back to the legendary Spanish monetary unit known as peso or “ps” (Latin abbreviation). Peso has been used as a monetary unit in Spain from 16th to the 18th century and it’s currently being used in several former Spanish territories in Latin America.
It is needless to say that the US dollar is the most powerful currency in the world. It is the most traded currency and remained the largest reserve currency in the world even after the termination of the Bretton Woods system. It is also one of the two most common De facto currencies which is used by small countries of Aruba, Cambodia and the Dominican Republic.
8. Swiss Franc
A 20 CHF banknote
Country: Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Exchange Rate: 1 CHF = $1.02
Switzerland is one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Its economy is considered (by investors) as tax heaven due to its low tax rates and fairly stable economy. Swiss Franc is the official currency of Switzerland, Liechtenstein and a legal tender in Campione d’Italia, a small Italian enclave in the Lombardy region. In 2016, the Swiss franc accounted for 0.2 % of the total foreign exchange reserves (down by 0.1% from 2015).
Exchange Rate: 1 EUR = $1.18
The Euro is the second most traded and the second-largest reserve currency in the world only after the US dollar. Along with the Eurozone countries, many other European and even African nations peg their own currencies to the Euro to maintain stabilize exchange rates. Unlike most of the other currencies in the world, Euro is relatively young, which only came into existence in 1999 and is largely derived by political events inside the Eurozone.
6. Caymanian Dollar
Country: Cayman Islands
Exchange Rate: 0.83 KYD = 1 USD
Situated in the western Caribbean Sea, it’s an autonomous British Overseas Territory with 14th largest GDP in the world based on PPP value. The Cayman Island Dollar is currently one of the 15 most valued currency in the world (as of 2014 it was 9th most valued currencies) and is pegged with the US dollar at a rate of 1.00 KYD = 1.20 USD.
5. Pound Sterling
Country: United Kingdom
Exchange Rates: 1 GBP = $1.34
The British Pound sterling was once the currency of half of the world, legally circulated in various countries under the British empire. Sometimes it was used alongside the local currency of that particular nation. After the Second World War, after entering an agreement with the United States, pound sterling was pegged with the dollar (US) at a rate of £1 = $4.03.
This agreement was later named as the Bretton Woods system, which dictates global post-war exchange rates. But in 1949, the pound was devalued due to increasing economic pressure by 30.5% to $2.80. The move directly affected several major currencies negatively, which were devalued against the dollar.
When Euro was introduced, as a Eurozone nation Great Britain could have adopted Euro as its legal tender, instead, the UK successfully opt-out, however, it was a highly controversial political decision at that time.
4. Jordanian Dinar
Exchange Rate: 1 JOD = 1.41 USD
Jordanian dinar was instated as the legal tender of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (officially) in 1950, 4 years after Jordan became an independent nation. The currency is also unofficially used by West Bank (Palestinian territories). The Jordanian dinar was officially pegged to the IMF SDR’s, which means that it’s almost fixed at a rate of 1 dinar = 1.41044 dollars.
3. Omani Rial
Exchange Rate: 1 OMR = $2.60
Like most of the Gulf countries, Oman’s economy heavily depends on its oil exports, though its economy is relatively diversified. Oman has the 25th largest oil reserve in the world with identified oil reserves up to 5.5 billion barrels.
The Omani Rial was first introduced as the nation’s legal currency in 1973 when it replaced the rial Saidi (not Saudi riyal) after changes in regime. Rial is subdivided into 1000 baisa (lower denomination). Between 1973 and 1986, the Omani rial was fixed (pegged) to the American dollar at a rate of 1 rial = $2.895 USD. It changed in 1986 when it was updated to 1 rial = $2.6008 USD
2. Bahraini Dinar
Exchange Rate: 1 BHD = $2.65
The kingdom of Bahrain is a small island country situated between the Qatar peninsula and the northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia. The dinar was introduced in 1965, replacing the Gulf rupee at a rate of 10 rupees = 1 dinar. In 1980, Bahrain’s government officially pegged dinar to IMF’s special drawing rights or SDRs.
After pegging, the currency was fixed at $1 USD = 0.376 BD or 1 BD = $2.65957 USD. After Malta adopted Euro as its legal currency adopted the euro, the Dinar became the second highest-valued currency unit.
1. Kuwaiti Dinar
Exchange Rate: 1 KWD = $3.31
The Kuwaiti dinar is perhaps the highest currency in the world with maximum dollar conversion rates. It was introduced into the legal system of Kuwait in 1960 as a replacement for Gulf rupee. During its initial years, the Kuwaiti dinar was equivalent to the pound sterling.
In 1990, during the invasion of Iraq, the Kuwaiti dinar was shortly replaced by the Iraqi dinar as the legal currency and large amounts of banknote denominations were looted by the forces of the invading country. It was reinstated after the liberation and new banknote series were introduced for the first time.
Bitcoin transactions per month From 2009
Exchange Rate: 1 Bitcoin = 16k USD
This decentralized peer-to-peer network has become a cornerstone of the cryptocurrency business. During its initial years, several companies used it as an alternate payment method and it was traded moderately. But everything changed in a recent couple of years, not only big multinational firms but governments, banking institutions all have more or less recognized bitcoin.
In Japan, the government made it lawfully legal to buy and sell bitcoin cryptocurrency as a method of payment against services and goods. In Europe, Norway’s biggest online bank Skandiabanken has now integrated bitcoin accounts in their data and recognized it as an investment asset.
This prompts a question in my head, is it the beginning of a new worldwide currency? Maybe not, but there is something mysterious about the ‘depletable’ bitcoin that we will get to know after a year or so, which will ultimately decide its future.