What is the Currency of Romania?

By Zainab Reza on November 13 2017 in Economics

Although Romania joined the European Union 2007, the leu has remained as the official currency.

Romania is a southeastern European country. Its currency is known as the Romanian leu (plural: lei), or by its code RON. Its ISO is 4217 and the numeric code used for it is 946. The currency is further divided into 100 bani. The name of the currency literally translates into "lion". From what is known, it is derived from the Dutch thaler, a silver coin used throughout Europe for almost four hundred years. Although Romania joined the European Union in January 2007, the leu has continued to be used as the official currency of the country.


The history of the Romanian leu dates back to the mid-19th century. With the passage of time, the currency has been through four different iterations. The very first iteration took place in 1947 where it was replaced at a value of 1 new leu being equal to 20,000 old. The second replacement could only last until 1952, after which it was again replaced without any warning as such, at values that varied depending on the type of exchange. With time, the currency remained stable and the third leu was not replaced until 2005. In 2005, however, it was replaced at a value of 1 new leu to 10,000 old. What needs to be mentioned here is that it took a while for the change to be fully enforced (it was common for prices to be quoted at both old and new values for about a year), the revaluation played a significant role in terms of bringing the leu more in sync with the currencies of other neighboring countries.


In terms of coins of the Romanian leu, these were first issued right when the Romanian leu was introduced back in 1867. Right until 2005, these were issued with different compositions, most of which were in silver, nickel, and copper. The series of coins being used at the moment in the country was introduced in 2005 (when the fourth iteration was introduced), even though the 50b coin has been put through several iterations during this time.


A number of banknotes were published in Romania from 1877 to 2005. By the year 2005, polymer-based notes were introduced in the country. The notes were for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 lei. However, in 2006, lei notes worth 200 were issued for use for the very first time. What needs to be mentioned here is that the designs of these notes is based on that of several earlier lei notes starting from 10,000 to 1 million. The series of banknotes being used these days was introduced mostly in 2005. However, certain versions of a few banknotes were introduced later with different colors and value.


Ever since the latest variation of the RON was introduced in 2005, its value has remained at the 3 RON being equal to 1 USD. However, its value has decreased since 2008 against the USD with there being rarely any resurgence at all. In more recent instances, the value of the RON fell further against the USD and is known to sit at about the 4 RON to 1 USD mark.

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