South America is primarily located in the southern hemisphere, south of North America. It is comprised of 6.89 million square miles, which are divided into 12 independent countries, 2 British overseas territories, and 1 French overseas region. Each of these 15 areas uses its own currency with the exception of one sovereign country - Ecuador. This article takes a closer look at the nations and territories of South America and which currency each one uses.
The Currencies Of Independent South American Countries
The list of currencies of the 14 independent countries of South America and their currencies is as follows: Argentina (Argentine Peso), Bolivia (Bolivian Boliviano), Brazil (Brazilian Real), Chile (Chilean Peso), Columbia (Columbian Peso), Ecuador (US Dollar), Guyana (Guyanese Dollar), Paraguay (Paraguayan Guaraní), Peru (Peruvian Nuevo Sol), Suriname (Surinamese Dollar), Uruguay (Uruguayan Peso), Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolivar).
Strongest Currencies Of South America
Currently, one of the strongest currencies in circulation in South America is the Brazilian Real. Its value increased by nearly 3 times during the administrations of Prime Ministers Luis Inácio Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. This shift in value led to a higher minimum wage salary and a larger population of middle-class households.
Another strong South American currency is the Chilean Peso. Unfortunately for Chile, a stronger currency meant an increase in cheap imports to the economy. These cheap imports effectively undercut the domestic manufacturing industry. Additionally, this strong currency caused a higher than average inflation rate, which has a negative impact on middle and lower socioeconomic classes. In January of 2011, the government released a plan to invest in $12 billion of foreign reserves, which resulted in a decline in value of the country’s currency.
The Currencies Of Dependent South American Territories
The list of currencies of the 3 dependent South American Territories and their currencies is as follows: Falkland Islands (Falkland Island Pound), French Guiana (Euro), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (none, no permanent residents).
The Falkland Island Pound is used throughout the islands. As a British territory, the currency here can also be used interchangeably with the British Pound. However, the Falkland Island Pound cannot usually be used in Britain. Since 1971, this version of the pound has been divided into 100 pence (like 100 cents). The following coins have been slowly introduced to circulation: .50, 1, 2, 5, and 10 pence (1974); 50 pence (1980); 20 pence (1982); 1 pound (1987); and 2 pound (2004). The ½ penny coin was briefly introduced in 1983, but was removed from circulation shortly thereafter.
French Guiana, an overseas region of France, has been using the Euro since 2002. This is because the territory is part of the European Union and the Eurozone. Prior to 2002, this region used the French Guianan Franc as currency. Between 1888 and 1961, business here was conducted by using both the French Guianan Franc and the French Franc interchangeably. Between 1961 and 1975, special notes were circulated for use in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique; during this time, these departments were known as the French Antilles.
As previously mentioned, no permanent residents reside on the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. The British Antarctic Survey administers a research base and museum here with staff. Additionally, a British Government Officer and Postmaster inhabit the islands. These individuals use the British Pound.
What are the Currencies Used in South America?
The list of currencies of the 14 independent countries of South America and their currencies is as follows: Argentina (Argentine Peso), Bolivia (Bolivian Boliviano), Brazil (Brazilian Real), Chile (Chilean Peso), Columbia (Colombian Peso), Ecuador (US Dollar), Guyana (Guyanese Dollar), Paraguay (Paraguayan Guaraní), Peru (Peruvian Nuevo Sol), Suriname (Surinamese Dollar), Uruguay (Uruguayan Peso), Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolivar).
The Currencies Of South America
|Rank||Country||Present currency||Currency sign||Fractional unit|
|6||Ecuador||United States dollar||$||Cent|
|7||Guyana||Guyanese dollar||$, G$||Cent|
|9||Peru||Peruvian nuevo sol||S/.||Céntimo|
|13||Falkland Islands||Falkland Islands pound||£ (FK£)||Pence|
|14||South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands||Britsh currency||None||None|
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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