What Is the Currency of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines?

By Sharon Omondi on August 15 2017 in Economics

East Caribbean dollar coins and banknote.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a Caribbean island nation. The country is made up of the island of Saint Vincent, which is the main island, and series of smaller islands in the Grenadines. The capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is Kingstown, which is located on the island of Saint Vincen. The population of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is approximately 109,462 inhabitants. It is famous for having white-sand beaches such as Princess Margaret. The currency used in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the East Caribbean dollar. The currency uses the symbol EC$, is subdivided into 100 cents, and is shared by other members of the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS), such as Grenada and Saint Lucia. The entire Caribbean states have a population of about 613,000 people who use a common currency. For the sake of foreigners and tourists, the Great Britain pound and the United States dollar are commonly accepted in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

History of the East Caribbean Dollar

Prior to the introduction of the Caribbean dollar, many Caribbean states used the British West Indies (BWI) dollar. In 1965, following the establishment of Caribbean Currency Agreement, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) introduced the East Caribbean dollar. British Guiana was initially a part of the agreement, but withdrew in 1966. The ECCA introduced EC$ banknotes in 1965 and coins in 1981. Presently, the body in charge of minting and issuing the EC$ is the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), which is based in Bassetere, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

East Caribbean Dollar Coins and Banknotes

Some of the first coins used in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were part of the British West Indies dollar currency. They were struck in aluminium and square in shape. However, eventually the shape of the coins became decagonal and later round. The materials used to produce the coins ranged from aluminium to cupro-nickel and bronze. When the East Caribbean dollars coins were introduced in 1982, they were available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 dollar. The coins used currently in the East Caribbean nations, including Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, are 5, 10, and 25 cents, and 1 and 2 dollars.

Banknotes were introduced in 1965 in denominations of 1, 5, 20, and 100 dollars. All notes included the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The 10 and 50 dollar notes were later introduced in 1985 and 1993, respectively. The 2012 notes series, which were issued by the ECCB, has Braille features, which make it possible for visually impaired persons to identify and differentiate between the different notes. In addition, the notes have portraits of Sir William Arthur Lewis, Brown pelican, and Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, among other features. The denominations of the banknotes currently used in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.

Exchange Rate of the East Caribbean Dollar

As of July 19, 2017 one East Caribbean dollar is equivalent to 0.37 US dollars, and one East Caribbean dollar is worth 0.32 euros. Therefore, the US dollar and euro are stronger than the EC$.

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