What is the Currency of Antigua and Barbuda?

By Joyce Chepkemoi on August 1 2017 in Economics

East Caribbean dollar bills.

The currency in circulation in Antigua and Barbuda's economy is the East Caribbean dollar with the symbol $ and the code XCD. The country is made up of two primary islands named Antigua and Barbuda in addition to several smaller islands. The East Caribbean dollar is also recognized as the official currency of Saint Vincent, Grenadines, as well as Grenada, Dominica, and Saint Kitts and Nevis all of which, in addition to Antigua and Barbuda, participate in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. The currency is also in use in the British overseas territories of Montserrat and Anguilla. The currency is used in Antigua, Barbuda, and all other members of the organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).


The gold standard was introduction in the British West Indies in 1704 through the proclamation of Queen Anne. The British introduced 1/4, 1/8, as well as 1/16 fractional ‘Anchor dollars' to be used in the British West Indies and Mauritius. Subsequently, copper fractional dollars were issued to circulate in Sierra Leone and Mauritius as well as in the British West Indies. Efforts to get the British sterling silver coinage in circulation in the colonies began in 1825 with an imperial order-in-council. Accounts in the region were kept in both sterling and dollars going into the 19th century. British Guiana, the Leeward Islands, Barbados, the Windward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago participated in the West Indian Currency Conference in 1946 when they committed themselves to the creation of a common decimal currency system that was based on the West Indian dollar in replacement of the three Boards of Commissioners of currency that existed at the time. The British administration introduced the British West Indies dollar in 1949 in the Eastern Caribbean territories as well as in British Guiana. The new currency began circulating in 1950 when the Caribbean Currency Board (BCCB) was created in Trinidad. The British Virgin Islands together with Trinidad and Tobago subsequently withdrew their commitment from the new currency. The Eastern Caribbean dollar replaced the British West Indies dollar while the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority was founded to replace the BCCB in 1965.


The Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority released notes of 1, 5, 20, and 100 dollars in 1965. Printed on the notes was the portrait of Queen Elizabeth done by Pietro Annigoni in 1956. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank added the 10 dollar note in 1985 and the 50 dollar note in 1993. The institution also omitted the 1 dollar note. Banknotes issued by the Bank from April 1, 2008, excluded the country code letters and the barcode. Starting in 2012, the Bank rolled out a series of banknotes featuring Braille in the 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollar varieties.


Coins of the currency were circulating in 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 cents denominations and the 1 dollar was introduced at the beginning of 1981. Some of the coins have changed shape over the years, and they are composed of cupro-nickel and aluminum. The Ian Rank-Broadley design for Queen Elizabeth the Second's portrait was adopted in 2002. The circulation of 1 and 2 cent coins was withdrawn in July 2015.

Economy of Antigua and Barbuda

Over half of Antigua and Barbuda's GDP comes from tourism. Antigua is particularly famed for its numerous luxury resorts. Financial services and investment banking also contribute a significant measure of the country's economy. Financial institutions with offices in the nation include Scotiabank and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Agriculture is constrained by labor and water supply while manufacturing is characterized by an enclave-type assembly for export.

More in Economics