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20 Most Expensive World Currencies against the US Dollar

20 Most Expensive World Currencies against the US Dollar

Guess how many currencies in the world are more valuable than the US dollar today?

We're sure that most of you can name at least two: the pound sterling and the euro. But this is not the complete list…

Once you finish reading, you'll be surprised to know that the US dollar is not even in the middle of this currency list. It is actually ranking among the last ones in our compilation of top ten (10) costliest world currencies.

Well, it's time to indulge your curiosity and get down to naming each currency on the list…


Kuwaiti Dinar

1 KWD = 3.29 USD
Kuwaiti Dinar
The Kuwaiti dinar is the most expensive currency in the world. The exchange rate at the time of writing is: 1 dinar equals $3.29.

It means you can exchange one dinar for a little more than three US dollars.

Kuwait is a small country located in the Arabian peninsula. It's estimated that the oil reserves in this country make up around 9% of total oil reserves in the world, which to a certain extent explains why the value of Kuwait's currency is so high.

It should come as no surprise that the country relies on oil exports to the global market as its main source of revenue (95%). The biggest trading partners of Kuwait are Japan, Korea, India, and the United States.

Kuwait also comes in at 7th position on the world GDP per capita ranking list.


Bahraini Dinar

1 BHD = 2.65 USD
Bahraini Dinar
The second highest valued currency in the world is the Bahraini dinar.

The exchange rate was pegged back in 1980 and hasn't changed ever since.

One interesting fact about Bahrain is that Saudi riyal money is also officially accepted at most points of sale alongside the principal currency. This is due to the close economic cooperation between the two countries and their geographic proximity. The dinar rate is also pegged to riyal: 1 dinar is equal to 10 riyals.

The value of Bahrain's currency is economically supported by the considerable oil and natural gas reserves, which are exported by the country to the world market.

Before becoming an oil producing country, the economy of Bahrain relied on pearl fishery as their top money making industry. However, with the introduction of cultured pearl farming in Japan in 1930 or so, the country stopped the pearl hunting activities.


Omani Rial

1 OMR = 2.60 USD
Omani Rial
The Omani rial closes up the top three strongest currencies in the world.

The Omani rial has been pegged to the US dollar since 1973.

The coin used in Oman is called ‘baisa' and it's equal to 1/100 of the rial, instead of the most common 1/100 rate. There are also rial currency notes of 100, 200 baisa denominations, as well as notes for 1/2 and 1/4 of rial. Such a currency note actually has the denomination written on it: ‘1/4 of rial'.

Just like other world countries within the Arabian peninsula, Oman has made oil production its top economic industry. However, the recent reduction of oil reserves forced the government to focus on diversification of its biggest revenue contributors and develop gas production, metallurgy, and tourism.


Jordanian Dinar

1 JOD = 1.41 USD
Jordanian Dinar
The value of Jordanian dinar is higher than that of the US dollar: 1 dinar is equal to 1.41 dollar. The exchange rate is pegged.

This is yet another Arabic country currency on our list.

The most part of Jordan's population is concentrated in three cities, which are one of the largest ones: Amman, Irbid, and Madaba. This is due to the fact that deserts make up 90% of the country.

Speaking of the economy, things have been not so great for Jordan compared to the previous world countries on our list. The country is not rich in natural resources; moreover, it needs to import expensive energy supplies. Imports significantly exceed exports.

Jordan is in a considerable foreign debt, which makes the country well-being dependent on loans from the neighboring countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


British Pound

1 GBP = 1.26 USD.
British Pound
As many people believe, the British pound is not the highest valued currency. It’s only the fifth strongest currency in the world against the US dollar.

The British pound, which is most commonly known as ‘pound sterling', constitutes the national currency of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and a currency circulating alongside other money in the crown dependencies: Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man. The pound sterling is also legally accepted for payment in the British overseas colonies: Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.

Most British colonies have their own currency notes; however, their value is pegged to the pound at a rate of 1:1.

Only a short time ago, the Bank of England issued new polymer currency notes. They have a longer lifetime compared to the paper money, and, most importantly, are more resistant to dirt. The best thing about these currency notes is their polymer structure, which keeps money safe from moisture, sweat, and dirt.


Cayman Islands Dollar

1 KYD = 1.20 USD
Cayman Islands Dollar
The Cayman Islands are one of the largest offshore centers. This country has become a haven for hundreds of banks, insurance companies, funds, and other financial institutions.

The Cayman Islands Dollar was introduced in 1972. Until then, the official currency was the Jamaican dollar.

For some time, there was a currency note of an unusual 40 dollar denomination in circulation.

It's noteworthy that designers working on the latest issued series of banknotes, which took place in 2011, didn't put a lot of effort into it and preferred to place a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the banknotes of all denominations.


European Euro

1 EUR = 1.14 USD
European Euro
The euro was put in circulation on January 1, 2002, and today it is the official currency of 19 countries of the European Union commonly known as the eurozone.

There are 22 more world countries, which pegged their national currencies to the euro. They are located mostly on the African continent.

The euro is the second most commonly held reserve currency in the world after the US dollar with a share of 25%.

The combined value of the euro currency notes and coins in circulation amounted to €1.2 trillion as of August 2018.

The interesting thing is that in 2011 when the exchange rate was €1 to $1.48, the amount of euro cash in circulation (converted into dollar currency) exceeded the total amount of US dollars in circulation. Sometime later, the US dollar strengthened and took back the lead.


Swiss Franc

1 CHF = 1.04 USD
Swiss Franc
The Swiss franc is one of the most stable and strongest world currencies today. It’s also best known for its banknote picture, which is aligned vertically instead of the usual horizontal layout.

The Swiss franc is the official currency accepted for payment in two countries: Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

It's the only state currency in Europe that is called ‘franc'.

The most unbelievable thing is that Switzerland introduced a negative interest rate on deposits. It means that not only will you not receive any valuable profit, but you will also be additionally charged for keeping your money in the bank. This decision was made by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in order to withhold the rapid rise in the franc's value following the removal of the currency peg against the euro.


United States Dollar

1 USD = 1.00 USD
United States Dollar
The American currency comes in at only 9th position in the top most valuable world currencies list. Nonetheless, it is still the major reserve currency around the world.

The status of major reserve currency hardly requires any explanation, considering that the economy of the United States is one of the strongest world economies.

There was approximately $1.69 trillion in circulation as of September 2018.

Here are some interesting facts about the US dollar:

  • Around 70% of 100 dollar banknotes are in circulation outside the territory of the country;
  • Around 25 million currency notes are being issued daily with a total value of approximately $640 million;
  • The estimates of the number of new banknotes used to replace the worn currency range between 70% and 95%;
  • The lifetime of currency notes is 5 . to 15 years depending on the denomination.

Today, the currency notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollar denominations are in circulation. In the past, there used to be dollar banknotes of $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $100,000 denominations.


Canadian Dollar

1 CAD = 0.73 USD
Canadian Dollar
The Canadian dollar comes in last on the list of ten (10) costliest world currencies, leaving many other currencies only a few cents behind.

Canada holds the second largest oil reserves in the world (13.21%) after Saudi Arabia. The United States is the biggest importer of Canada's oil. It goes without saying that the value of the Canadian dollar is strongly correlated to the global price of oil.

Among traders, it's common to call the Canadian dollar the ‘loonie', after the loon bird.

#11-20 – currencies in the running

Taking into account the volatility of the exchange rate, several national currencies have a good chance of pushing the Canadian dollar out of the top ten (10) most powerful currencies soon. See the following list for more details:

  1. Singapore Dollar – $0.73;
  2. Bruneian Dollar  – $0.73;
  3. Libyan Dinar  – $0.72;
  4. Australian Dollar  – $0.70;
  5. New Zealand Dollar  – $0.67;
  6. Bulgarian Lev  – $0.58;
  7. Bosnian Convertible Marka  – $0.58;
  8. Aruban Florin  – $0.56;
  9. Fijian Dollar  – $0.47;
  10. Israeli Shekel  – $0.27.

We’ve prepared a histogram to illustrate the 20 most expensive world currencies in 2019:

Most expensive currencies

What can we tell from the currency value?

If you had to choose between a million dollars and a million euros, what would be your choice..? The euros would definitely be the best option because this currency has a bigger purchasing power.

In this case, the value of the currency means a lot, but in terms of economy, the currency unit value isn’t the most important thing.

Let’s look at Japan, for example. It is the country, which holds 4th position in the world GDP per capita ranking, is fifth best in the world in terms of industrial output, and No.1 world’s robotics producer. All this is achieved despite an almost complete lack of natural resources.

And do we need to mention that Japanese cars are all over the world?

However, the Japanese yen exchange rate to US dollar is: 1 JPY = $0.009, or $1 = 110.56 JPY.

At first glance it looks like the Japanese yen has fallen in value; in fact, over the past 40 years, its value has strengthened several-fold against the US dollar. In 1975, 1 US dollar was equal to 310 yens.

At a certain point, the government of Japan even decided to decrease the value of currency for economic purposes and held so-called currency interventions.

In this context, it’s more important to estimate the inflation rate. In other words, the generally stable value of the Japanese yen is a sign that the currency is strong. Let’s look at another currency: the Russian ruble. Its value has decreased by half over the past several years, which means the inflation rate is high and the currency is weak.


To sum it all up, here are the best takeaways from our top list:

  • The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest valued currency in the world;
  • The Pound sterling is the most expensive world currency with a floating (not pegged) exchange rate;
  • The US dollar is only ranked 9th among the strongest world currencies;
  • The value of a currency unit is not the most important thing in terms of the economy.

Thanks for reading!