Grenada is a country in the Caribbean nicknamed the “Spice Isle.” The official currency used in Grenada is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, which is coded as XCD. The currency is written as EC$ to avoid confusion with other dollar currencies. The currency is used by all Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states. Apart from Grenada, the other member states are Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In fact, by 2014, over 613,000 people who inhabit these nations used the EC$ currency.
History of the East Caribbean Dollar
Initially, the currency used by the OECS was the “silver pieces of eight royals” coins. However, in 1840, Grenada adopted its first currency, the British pound sterling. The pound was used alongside the eight royals coin until it was demonetized in 1873 following the world silver crisis. In 1949, the British government introduced the use of British West Indies (BWI) dollar. The pound sterling was converted to BWI dollars at a fixed rate of 1 pound sterling for every 4.80 BWI dollars. The East Caribbean dollar came into existence in 1965, and replaced the British West Indies (BWI) dollar, which was being used by the OECS at the time. At the time, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) was responsible for the issuance of the EC$. However, currently the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues the EC$. The EC$ has been used by Grenada from 1965 to date.
The ECCA issued the first EC$ coins from 1981 after the currency switch from BWI dollars to EC$. The denominations introduced were 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 cents, as well as 1 dollar. They were struck in aluminium and had a scalloped shape. The shape of the coins was later changed to decagonal, and then to a round shape. The coins used currently are round in shape, and are available in the same denominations listed above.
The first banknotes to be issued by the ECCA were printed in 1965 and came in denominations of 1, 5, 20 and 100 dollars. They all had the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. In 2012, the ECCB introduced banknotes with braille features for the use of visually impaired persons living in the Caribbean states. This additional feature has been added to all denominations except the EC$5. The East Caribbean dollar banknotes that exist today are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is still found on the obverse of the banknotes. The reverse side features images such as Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Government House, Tropical fish, Sir William Arthur Lewis, and a map of the OECS.
Fixed Exchange Rate
The Eastern Caribbean dollar is fixed to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate of USD$1 for every EC$2.70. Both the US dollar and the East Caribbean dollar are widely used in Grenada. As of June 28, 2017, the exchange rate between the two currencies was 1 dollar being equivalent to 2.70 East Carribean dollars.
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