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Saturday, March 25, 2006 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

How many different currencies are there in the world?

Most countries have their own currencies, but not all. For instance, many of the island nations of the Caribbean, such as Saint Lucia and Dominica, use the same East Caribbean dollar. Likewise, a number of African nations, including Chad and Niger, use the Communaute Financiere Africaine franc. Often the territories or dependencies of a country use the governing country's currency -- for example, the
Virgin Islands and Guam use the United States dollar.
We learned all this from the CIA World Factbook, which offers detailed fact sheets on every country in the world. This site also hosts a large list of world currencies that shows 178 different currencies in use.

Looking for confirmation of this number, we typed "world currency list" into the Yahoo! search box. The first web site returned, Currencies of the World, listed only 112 different currencies, so we moved on to the web page matches.

That's where we came across the Xe.com currency site's list of 182 currencies. This list includes one duplicate (Ireland/Eire), four precious metals, the Crude Oil Barrels Index, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Right.

We're tempted to leave the metals, oil, and IMF off our currency count, since they're not exactly like the cash you might find in your wallet.

So minus these exceptions, Xe.com's total of world currencies is actually 174. However, they leave off the Vatican lira, the Tuvaluan dollar, the Manx pound, and the Jersey pound (all of which are included on the CIA World Factbook list). If we take the revised Xe.com total of 174 and add the missing 4, we're back at 178,
confirming the World Factbook's listing.

Of course, by February 28, 2002, European national bank notes and coins will be withdrawn from circulation in favor of the Euro -- which will add 1 currency while eliminating 12.

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