If you want to know the 10 cheapest currencies in the world in 2017, then you’ve come to the right place. Interest rates, inflation, public debt and political stability are just some of the factors that affect a nation’s currency. While it is oftentimes assumed that a weak currency is a sign of an ailing economy, it is important to note that this is not always the case. One sector that benefits from a cheap currency is the export industry. When exporters trade their goods in a low-currency environment, they get better market share, as products become relatively cheaper than those being sold from stronger currencies.
What does it really mean when we say “cheap” currency? Let’s look at it from a traveler’s perspective. If you come from the United States and visit a country with a so-called cheap currency, you can buy more things or services in that country with your buck than you could elsewhere, though there are exceptions of course, as certain things may be rarer in other countries, which makes them costlier there due to supply and demand factors. Cheap currencies should not be confused with “undervalued” currencies, which means those currencies are changing hands for less than they maybe should be due to various factors and economic conditions.
If you like this list of 10 cheapest currencies, you should also love our list of the 10 most expensive currencies in the world.
In this article, we combined this year’s weakest currencies as listed by The Telegraph and Naija Quest. From there, we picked out the 10 lowest-valued currencies against the US dollar using XE Currency Converter. The US dollar is one of the most popular global currencies, along with the Euro and Japanese yen, and is considered the benchmark currency against which all others are judged. It accounts for more than 60% of all recognized central bank foreign exchange reserves and is widely accepted in many international transactions.
Based on their value against the US dollar on June 30, 2017, the 10 cheapest currencies in the world in 2017 are the Belarusian Ruble (BYR), Cambodian Riel (KHR), Guinean Franc (GNF), Indonesia Rupiah (IDR), Iranian Rial (IRR), Lao Kip (LAK), Paraguayan Guarani (PYG), Sao Tomean Dobra (STD), Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL), and the Vietnamese Dong (VND).
See how they rank beginning on the next page. And for further reading, check out our list of the 10 most expensive currencies in the world in 2017.
10. Cambodian Riel (KHR)
1 USD = 4,087.08 KHR
Our list of the 10 Cheapest Currencies in the World in 2017 begins with the Cambodian Riel. The first riel was issued between 1953 and 1975. In 1980, the second currency, also known as riel, was rolled out. Today, most significant purchases in Cambodia are paid for in US dollars. ATMs likewise dispense money in this global currency. It is very rare to spot riel coins, as the Cambodian central bank has ceased to produce anything metallic.
9. Paraguayan Guarani (PYG)
1 USD = 5,562.89 PYG
Just like in Cambodia, the centavo coins are no longer in use in Paraguay due to high inflation. At 5,562.89 PYG against one US dollar, the Paraguayan Guarani is the weakest currency in the Americas. According to Trading Economics, it reached its record low of 3,642.70 in August 2011.
8. Sierra Leonean Leone (SLL)
1 USD = 7,427.78 SLL
Foreign exchange instability has always been a problem in Sierra Leone. In 2016, the country’s President called on citizens to use leones in daily transactions instead of the US dollar in an attempt to boost the currency’s value. Historically, the SLL hit its all-time high of 7,537.50 in April of this year.
7. Lao or Laotian Kip (LAK)
1 USD = 8,248.44 LAK
With Laos’ external deficit expected to widen to about 20% of its GDP this year, the weak Laotian Kip is posing a serious threat to the Southeast Asian state’s economy. Last year, a Laos’ trade ministry official stressed that the LAK was not overvalued after an assessment from the International Monetary Fund said that the kip was “too strong” given the state’s wide deficit, Reuters reported.
6. Guinean Franc (GNF)
1 USD = 9,011.78 GNF
The Guinean franc was first issued in 1959 and then reintroduced in 1985. In January 2017, the currency reached its weakest value against the USD at 9,395.60. It hit its record low of 1,267.50 in December 1998.
5. Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
1 USD = 13,327.48 IDR
Despite being one of the least-valued currencies in emerging markets, the Indonesian rupiah managed to appreciate by 4.97% against the US dollar last year, according to Indonesia Investments. Also in 2016, the country’s central bank proposed to redenominate the rupiah by cutting three zeroes from it.
4. Belarusian Ruble (BYR)
1 USD = 19,400.00 BYR
Belarus issued its own currency in 1992. In 2000, the country rolled out a new ruble. Only the banknotes are available for circulation, as coins are issued exclusively for commemorative purposes. Because of its devaluation, the highest Belarusian ruble banknote available today is 200,000.
3. Vietnamese Dong (VND)
1 USD = 22,699.00 VND
Also making it to our list of the 10 cheapest currencies in the world in 2017 is the Vietnamese dong, which became the official currency of Vietnam in 1978. The dong is expected to be valued at 23,600 against the US dollar over the next 12 months, according to Trading Economics.
2. Sao Tomean Dobra (STD)
1 USD = 21,537.34 STD
The dobra is the official currency of Sao Tome and Principe. In 2009, the island country inked a deal with Portugal, permitting the dobra to be linked with the Euro. As of June 30, 1 Euro is equivalent to 24,607.16 dobras.
1. Iranian Rial (IRR)
1 USD = 32,502.89 IRR
Ranking in the number one spot on our list of the 10 cheapest currencies in the world in 2017 is the Iranian Rial. Trading at more than 32,000 IRR against the US dollar, the Iranian real is the least-valued currency on our list. It was called “toman” until the 1930s and many Iranians still refer to their currency using that name. Technically, one toman is equivalent to 10 rials. To boost the currency, Iran President Hassan Rouhani approved a bill last year to revalue the rial upwards by tenfold, Reuters reported.