Currencies that are worth next to nothing
Imagine having to lug around your cash in a laundry bag or wheelbarrow, just to have enough money to buy a loaf of bread? Plagued by serious devaluation, some currencies are not worth the paper they’re printed on. From the completely devalued Venezuelan bolívar to the ailing Iranian rial, we reveal the world’s most worthless money.
Venezuela has just devalued its bolivar by a whopping 95% in a series of dramatic reforms issued by President Nicolas Maduro. In a bid to salvage the country’s economy from complete collapse, the new currency, renamed the “sovereign bolivar”, will also be re-denominated, which removes five zeros from its unit measurement. It will be pegged to the government’s cryptocurrency, the petro.
In another twist, minimum wage will be around 1,800 sovereign bolivars a month, instead of 1.8 million (the equivalent of around $30). While the former exchange rate of 250,000 bolivars per US dollar, will now increase to around six million, and inflation is set to reach 1,000,000% by the end of this year.
South Sudanese pound
The South Sudanese economy, which also relies on oil to stay afloat, has effectively collapsed and inflation is out of control in the country. In 2016, South Sudan’s inflation rate topped 50% and its currency has nosedived in value against the US dollar.
South Sudanese pound
Not long ago, just 30 South Sundanese pounds would have bought a US dollar on the black market. Now, a minimum of 120 South Sudanese pounds is required to purchase a US dollar, and the country currently boasts the world’s least valuable high-denomination banknote.
The low price of oil hasn’t done the Nigerian economy and its currency any favors either. In an attempt to stabilize its value, the government fixed the naira at 197 to the US dollar in September 2015. The artificial exchange rate led to a shortage of US dollars in the country, and a thriving black market.
The government abandoned the fixed exchange rate in June 2016 and, almost overnight, the naira lost half its value. Currently, there are 361 naira to the US dollar and the currency is worth nearly 90% less than it was back in 2013. Things have got so bad, many Nigerians are using US dollars now in place of the naira.
Hammered by hyperinflation rates topping 250,00,000% at their worst, the Zimbabwean dollar was largely abandoned in 2009, though reports suggest the government is working to reintroduce the currency. Before the Zim dollar was ditched in favor of stable currencies such as the US dollar, Zimbabweans needed wheelbarrows to cart around their cash and Z$100 trillion banknotes were printed.
The Zimbabwean dollar was formally demonetized in 2015 when the government offered a jaw-dropping exchange rate of US$1 to Z$35 trillion to citizens of the country holding outstanding account balances in the currency. Ironically, Zimbabwe’s $100 trillion bills, which barely stretched to a loaf of bread when they were printed in 2009, now fetch up to US$100 (£77) each on eBay.
The Somaliland shilling is, yes, you’ve guessed it, the currency of Somaliland, a self-declared republic of Somalia. Introduced in 1994, the shilling is worth nada outside the republic – the currency isn’t regarded as legal tender by the international community.
Exchange services are mainly provided by unofficial hawala agents and moneychangers who ply their trade in the country’s markets, offering an exchange rate of 6,000 shillings per US dollar. Given the largest banknote, the 5,000 shilling bill, is worth less than a US dollar and much smaller denominations are de rigueur, Somaliland citizens tend to carry their cash around in suitcases, shopping trolleys and wheelbarrows.
An internal currency, the rial has about as much spending power as Monopoly money anywhere outside of Iran. Crippled by international sanctions and a series of devaluations, the currency has taken a battering in recent years. Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, there were 141 rials to the US dollar.
Since the revolution, the rial has gradually lost value and the currency is currently trading at an appalling 42,000 to the US dollar. The highest denomination banknote is now worth a paltry $3 (£2.34). Inflation is on the rise in the country and despite a softening of sanctions in 2016, factors including a hostile Trump administration, are likely to render the currency even more useless in the coming years.
Introduced in 1994 to replace the Soviet ruble, the Uzbekistani so’m is widely regarded as one of the world’s most worthless currencies. Rampant inflation has obliterated its value but the government has been in denial for years, steadfastly refusing to issue higher denomination banknotes, and Uzbeks frequently resort to carrying around their cash in large plastic laundry bags.
Due to the currency’s dwindling value, the smallest denomination coin, the 1 tiyin, is only worth $0.000128 these days, making it the most worthless coin on the planet, while the highest denomination banknote, the 10,000 so’m, is worth just $2.62 (£2.04).
Back in 1980, the Vietnamese đồng was trading at 2.05 to the US dollar. Fast-forward to August 2018 and the rate of exchange is a shocking 23,269 to the US dollar. The Vietnamese government has devalued the currency many times since the 1980s in order to boost exports.
The đồng can only be exchanged within Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, and the lowest denomination banknote in circulation, the 200 dong bill, is worth less than one US cent. In fact, confidence in the currency is so low, US dollars are widely used and largely preferred as a means to pay for goods and services, particularly by wealthier Vietnamese citizens and foreign tourists.
Sierra Leonean leone
The ebola epidemic and low price of oil have clobbered the Sierra Leonean economy and chipped away at the value of its currency. The economy has contracted by almost a quarter since 2014 and the inflation rate has shot up from 8.77% in March 2016 to 16.7% in June of this year.
Sierra Leonean leone
Its value plummeting against the US dollar, the currency’s highest denomination banknote, the 10,000 leone bill, is worth just $1.34 (£1.03). Coins are of so little value, they cost more than their face value to mint, and are rarely used in the country – even the highest denomination coin is worth less than one US cent.
São Toméan dobra
The African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe has managed to stabilize its currency in recent years by tying it with the euro, but the value of the dobra is a fraction of what it was once worth. The culprit? Rampant inflation during the 1990s and 2000s.
São Toméan dobra
Inflation peaked at 86.8% in the late 1990s and hit 37% in 2008. Needless to say, the São Toméan dobra/US dollar exchange rate has slumped over the years. In 1995, there were 1,420 dobras to the US dollar. At the time of writing, a dollar will buy an incredible 21,151 dobras, and the rate is unlikely to improve for some time yet.
News credit : msn.com