What is the Currency of Bhutan?

By Japhet Rotich on August 1 2017 in Economics

Bhutanese ngultrum bills.

The official currency of Bhutan is the Bhutanese ngultrum which has a symbol of Nu. The ngultrum coins and banknotes are produced by Bhutan's Monetary Authority. The currency is valued at par with the Indian rupee.


Until 1929, only copper and silver coins were in circulation. Modern ½ rupee silver coins were issued which was followed by the one paisa in bronze in 1931. In 1950 a nickel ½ rupee coin was released. The institution of decimalisation took place in 1957, despite both Cooch Behar coins and Bhutan coins being in circulation. The first coins of the Naya Paisa denomination came into use.

The government of Bhutan improved economically in the early 1960s and in 1968 the Bank of Bhutan was created. In 1974, the official introduction of ngultrum took place with 100 chhetrum equating to 1 ngultrum. The ngultrum maintained the trade rate at par to the Indian rupee.

Before the creation of Royal Monetary Bhutan’s Authority in 1982 as the central Bhutan’s Bank, the Finance Ministry introduced the first notes in the year 1974 with various denominations including: Nu. 1, Nu. 5, Nu. 10, and Nu. 100. Later, Bhutan's Central Bank picked up over the issuance of banknotes from 1983 taking over the authority of the Finance Ministry.


Various denominations were introduced in 1974 including the aluminum Ch. 5 that was square and Ch. 10 which was aluminum and scallop-shaped. Other denominations were the aluminum-bronze Ch. 20, and and cupro-nickel Ch. 25. Later in 1979, a newly minted coin was presented in the forms of cupro-nickel Ch.25 and Ch. 50, bronze Ch. 5 and Ch.10, and aluminum-bronze Ch. 25. The usage of Ch. 5 and Ch. 10 has since stopped. The denominations that are presently used are Ch. 1, Ch. 20, Ch. 25, and Nu. 50.


The circulation of the Bhutanese notes in the denominations of Nu. 1, Nu. 5, and Nu. 10 began on June 2, 1974 by the Royal Bhutan government. In 1978, denominations of Nu. 20, Nu. 50, and Nu. 100 followed. The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan Act became law after legislation and approval. However, the Royal Monetary Authority did not initiate the operations until November 1, 1983, and never issued the institution family notes until 1986.

Current Series Notes

Monetary Authority introduced the latest series with different denominations ranging from Nu. 1 to Nu. 1000 in 2006.

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