TOP 10 - The Weakest World Currencies in 2019
Most people know about the strongest, most stable and powerful world currencies, for example British Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc (Swissie), US Dollar, Euro and others (see TOP 10 the strongest currencies).
These Currencies are the most stable – as well as the countries issuing them are.
However, what about the least valued world currencies? Who knows their names and what countries they are issued in…?
While making this list, we found it definitely hard to put in proper order the least valuable currencies, due to the fact that the economic situation is changing rapidly in all these countries.
However, it is possible to identify certain devalued national currencies at the moment. Thus, let’s look at 10 the cheapest foreign currencies against the US Dollar.
The exchange rates of the least valued currencies were updated on 13 Jan 2019.
No. 1 – Iranian Rial (1 USD = ~112,000 IRR)
Currency code – IRR
1 USD = 41,994 IRR (official rate)
1 USD = ~112,000 IRR (black market rate)
The Iranian Rial is officially the least valued currency in the world.
To simplify the calculations, citizens often use the term Toman, which means 10 rials. If you’re asked to pay 200 tomans, it means that your bill is 2,000 Rials.
The Iran-Iraq War, threats against Israel as well as the possibility of nuclear missiles threatening the world from the Iranian government caused world superpowers to force economic and political sanctions. These measures included restricting Iran’s access to the world commodity market and led to significant downturn in their economy. Being an oil exporter, Iran could no longer export its oil, which created a critical deficit in their national budget.
All this caused Iranian Rial to become the «worst» world currency. In 2016, USA and EU lifted some of the sanctions, improving the economic situation and stabilizing the local money, but in 2018, the USA re-imposed and sharpened their sanctions.
No. 2 – Vietnamese Dong (23,194 VND/USD)
Currency code – VND
1 USD = 23,194 VND
The Vietnamese Dong is the currency with the second lowest value in the world.
Vietnam is still on its hard path from a centralized economy to a market one, and consequently this country’s currency is very devalued today. At the moment, the Dong takes second place in our «poorest currencies» list.
However, experts insist that the Vietnamese government is going the right way and may soon catch up with its closer Asian neighbors.
No. 3 – Indonesian Rupiah (14,237 IDR/USD)
Currency code – IDR
1 USD = 14,237 IDR
Due to the low value of old-style banknotes, by presidential decree of September 5, 2016, 7 new banknotes were issued in denominations from 1 thousand to 100 thousand rupiahs.
Indonesia is an economically stable and quite developed country in Southeast Asia. However, its money has a very low exchange rate. The country’s regulatory authorities are taking all measures to strengthen the national currency, but all their efforts led only to insignificant changes.
No. 4 – Guinean Franc (9,198 GNF/USD)
Currency code – GNF
1 USD = 9,198 GNF
A high inflation rate, progressing poverty and prospering gangsters devaulue the currency of Guinea – the African country with one of the most inflated currencies.
Considering its natural gifts like gold, diamonds and aluminum, this country’s currency should be one of the most valuable.
No. 5 – Lao or Laotian Kip (8,550 LAK/USD)
Currency code – LAK
1 USD = 8,550 LAK
The Lao is the only currency on this list which did not devalue but was originally issued with very low rate. Besides, since its issue in 1952, the currency did strengthen against US Dollar and continues to improve its value.
No. 6 – Sierra Leonean Leone (8,446 SLL/USD)
Currency code – SLL
1 USD = 8,446 SLL
Sierra Leone is a very poor African country, which handled out many serious tests which caused the local money to devalue. Recently, a war took place and the deadly Ebola virus is recurrent.
No. 7 – Uzbek Sum (8,336 UZS/USD)
Currency code – UZS
1 USD = 8,336 UZS
The modern Sum was put into circulation with a ratio of 1 Sum equal to 1000 Sum-coupons from July 1, 1994 by Decree of the President of Uzbekistan.
As a result of the liberalization of their monetary policy from September 5, 2017, the exchange rate of the Sum against the US dollar is set at 1 USD = 8,100 UZS, with an estimated range of 8,000-8,150 UZS for 1 US dollar.
No. 8 – Paraguayan Guarani (5,953 PYG/USD)
Currency code – PYG
1 USD = 5,953 PYG
Paraguay is the second poorest South American country. It suffered a disastrous economic downturn, combining inflation, corruption, low education quality, enormous number of poor people, high unemployment, etc.
Paraguay exports cotton and soybeans, but this is hardly enough to cover its imports.
No. 9 – Cambodian Riel (4,016 KHR/USD)
Currency code – KHR
1 USD = 4,016 KHR
The Cambodian Riel is the currency of this Monarch State in Southeast Asia. This monetary unit was issued in 1995 to replace the Indochinese Piaster. Originally, the Riel had a low exchange rate and was not popular among locals who had decided to use foreign currencies.
Many Cambodians prefer to use the US dollar for payments now which causes the local currency to devalue even more.
No. 10 – Ugandan shilling (3,714 UGX/USD)
Currency code – UGX
1 USD = 3 714 UGX
In 1966, the Uganda Shilling first appeared, replacing the East African Shilling. The latter was the official means of payment in Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
Banknotes with the following denominations are currently in circulation: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000.
The Uganda Shilling is a relatively stable currency. Over the past few years, its value hasn’t lost more than 5%.
Out of TOP 10 (redenominated)
Denomination means a change in the nominal value of banknotes, usually after hyperinflation, in order to stabilize the currency and simplify calculations.
During a denomination, old banknotes are exchanged for new ones which, as a rule, have a smaller denomination.
Due to this procedure, some of the currencies have left the above list.
Venezuelan Sovereign Bolívar
Currency code – VES (Old VEF)
1 USD = ~248,487 VEF (before denomination)
Venezuelan Bolívar – the most inflated currency in the world.
The denomination was carried out on August 20, 2018. The main reason for the denomination was the hyperinflation of around 830,000% which kept increasing by day despite this denomination. Old banknotes were replaced with new ones with at a rate of 1 new VES to 100,000 old VEF.
A cryptocurrency «Petro» was created by the government to «fight the US dollar» but this only accelerated the hyperinflation rate because the government itself determines the dollar exchange rate, at their whim.
Sao Tomean Dobra
Currency code – STD
1 USD = 22,691 STD (before denomination)
The denomination was implemented on the 1st of January 2018. 1 new dobra (STN) equaled 1,000 (STN) of the previous dobras
Two small islands in West Africa, called St. Tome and Principe, are exporters of cacao, coffee and coconuts but this is not enough to support the local economy at an appropriate level.
Recently, oil fields were found on the St. Tome Island and therefore the Dobra is expected to increase its value soon.
Currency code – BYR
1 USD = 20,846 BYR (before denomination)
The denomination was implemented on the 1st of July 2016. 1 new (BYN) equaled 10,000 old (BYR).
The Belarusian Republic as a country was founded after the USSR’s collapse in 1992. It created its own national currency, the Belarusian Ruble, the exchange rate of which is stable since 2016. High taxes, inflation, corruption and political restrictions had led to a very low price for this currency on the global market.
Why do currencies devalue?
In most cases, a state’s currency devalues because of economic downturn inside a country. This causes a balance of payments deficit and the inflation rate to grow.
This can be a consequence of different economic downturns such as war actions, GDP decreasing, falling prices of commodities that form large part of exports, purchasing power falling, credit conditions tightening, political instability inside a country and etc.
Currency devaluation is often connected with badly organized monetary policy and relating to decisions of fiscal controls (Central Banking System).