What Is the Currency of Yemen?

By Sharon Omondi on August 12 2017 in Economics

Yemeni rial banknote.

Yemen is an Arab nation and is the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. It was formed in 1990 when Northern and Southern Yemen were integrated into one nation. The integration of the two states is commonly referred to as the Yemeni unification. The capital of Yemen is Sana’a. Some tourist attraction sites include Cisterns of Tawali, Ghumdan Palace, and the National Museum of Yemen. In 2016, the World Bank approximated that 27.58 million people lived in Yemen. The currency of Yemen and the legal tender used for financial transactions is the Yemeni rial, or riyal. However, the euro and United States dollars are also accepted in Yemen. The currency code for the Yemeni Rial is YER and the symbol is ﷼. In addition, the Central Bank of Yemen is responsible for issuing and circulating the Yemeni rial. The rial is sub-divided into 100 fils.

History of the Yemeni Rial

In the 18th and 19th centuries, trade was conducted using the Maria Theresa thaler, which was a form of silver bouillon coin popular in world trade. Later, Yemen minted its own currency called the rial. Shortly afterwards, in 1990, the unification of Yemen occurred. Consequently, both the southern dinar and northern rial were acceptable during the transition period. The switching of the currency was done by exchanging 1 dinar for 26 rials.

Coins and Banknotes

The first Yemeni coins were issued in 1993. They were prouduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 fils, and 1 rial. Fils eventually ran out during circulation and currently all coins are in rials. The 1 and 5 rial coins were first issued in 1993, the 10 rial coins in 1995, and ultimately the 20 rial coins in 2004. As a result, the coins used presently in Yemen are available in 1, 5, 10, and 20 rials.

Prior to the Yemeni unification, the banknotes in existence were 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 rials. However, in 1993, the 1 and 5 rial coins replaced the 1 and 5 rial notes. Similarly, the 10 and 20 rial notes were replaced by 10 and 20 rial coins in 1995 and 2004, respectively. On the other hand, 200, 500, 1000, and 250 rial banknotes were introduced in the years of 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2009, respectively. The banknotes used in Yemen today are denominated in 50, 100, 200, 250, 500, and 1,000-rials. The features on the notes include Ancient culverts, Seiyun Palace, Mukalla and Alabaster sculpture. In addition, the notes are blue, green, purple, and yellow in color.

Exchange Rates Between Yemeni Rial and Other Currencies

Currency rankings indicate that the YER is often exchanged with USD. As of June 24, 2017 one Yemeni rial was exchanged for 0.0040 US dollars. Other currency exchanges include YER/EUR, SAR/YER and INR/YER. One YER was equivalent to 0.26 INR, 0.0034 EUR, and 0.015 SAR as of July 24, 2017. The exchange of currencies in Yemen can be done by locals and visitors in banks, private exchange offices, large shops, airports, and large hotels.

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