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KWD - Kuwaiti Dinar



Kuwait didn’t have its own currency until it got independent from the reign of the British in 1961. Prior to the independence, the monetary system was dependent on the foreign currencies especially the Indian rupee that was vastly circulated in the country. Almost all the transactions in the economy were made in the rupee denominations from 1930s till 1960s. The Indian rupee was replaced by the Persian Gulf rupee at par in April 1959. The country got independent and issued its own currency for the first time - dinar at par with the British pound sterling. At that time, the authority of issuing the currency was given to Kuwait Currency Board but since the establishment of the Central bank of Kuwait in 1969, the currency issues are taken care of by the central bank only.

Till date, 5 series of dinar banknotes have been issued. The Kuwaiti Currency Board made the first issue of the currency banknotes on 1st April 1961 and that series was used till February 1982. The second issue of the currency was made by the Central Bank of Kuwait instead of the Kuwaiti Currency Board with new dinar notes of the denominations ¼, ½, 1, 5 and 10 KD in the years 1970 and 1971. The second series of the notes was also withdrawn from circulation in the February 1982. The third issue, which was put into circulation in February 1980, introduced the 20 dinar note for the first time in 1986 in Kuwait. This series was declared invalid w.e.f September 1991 due the emergency situation caused by the invasion by Iraq. For the motive to cover up for the damages done by the invasion and speeding up the lagging behind economy, the fourth series of currency notes was issued soon after the liberation of the state of Kuwait. The withdrawal of the 4th series in august 1994 made way for the launch of the 5th issue thatis still in use today.

The currency in Kuwait possesses a difference when compared to over 95% of the other currencies in the world. Unlike those currencies that are divided into 100 equal subunits, the Kuwaiti dinar consists of 1000 equal fils, fils being the subunit of the currency. The reputation of dinar to maintain a very high exchange rate make the currency the most highly valued currency in the world. The issue of currency in the country is the exclusive authority of the Central Bank of Kuwait. Both the minting of coins and printing of banknotes are monitored by the central bank.

The Kuwaiti dinar coins are issued in 6 denominations starting from 1 fils that are rarely in use now till 100 fils. The other coin denominations in circulation are 1 fils, 5 fils, 10 fils, 20 fils, 50 fils and 100 fils coins. The banknotes are also issued in 6 denominations that are ¼ dinar, ½ dinar, 1 dinar, 5 dinars, 10 dinars and 20 dinars. The central bank has, till now, issued 5 different series of the banknotes for circulation but the coins have not been put to changes till date. Currently, the fifth issue of the currency notes is in circulation.

One interesting aspect related to the currency of Kuwait is that during the Iraqi invasion into the country, many of the dinar notes that were not yet put into circulation at that time were stolen from the vaults of the central bank. Hence it was decided that those notes wouldn’t be exchanged by the central bank in future. The features in the banknotes adopted as security measures are quite advanced in context of technology.

Currency Profile

Kuwaiti dinar, as the name suggests, is the official national currency of Kuwait. The country is listed among the richest countries of the world. The Kuwaiti dinar is relatively a new currency as it was established in 1960 and replaced the gulf rupee in 1961 when Kuwait gained its independence. The currency finds it place among the highest valued currency of the world leaving even the strongest of currencies like Great Britain Pound and United States dollar behind.

Kuwaiti dinar, unlike the other currencies, is divided into 1000 equal Kuwaiti fils. The ISO 4217 currency code for Kuwaiti dinar is KWD and the numeric code is 414. The English symbol with which the currency is known as is "KD" and the Arabic symbol is "?.?". The monetary system in Kuwait is based on the floating rate regime, the value of the currency doesn’t fluctuate much though.

The Kuwaiti Dinar is the official currency of Kuwait, a nation that lies on the northwestern shore of the Persian Gulf. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north. The emirate covers an area of 17,820 square kilometers (6,880 sq. m.) and has a population of about 3.6 million.

Dinar forms the official currency unit of most of the countries that constituted the ancient Ottoman Empire. The word "dinar" is taken from the word "denarius", which was the currency of Rome in previous times. Kuwaiti dinar owes its importance to its high value. It maintains the reputation of the most expensive currency of the world as it keeps up a very high exchange rate as compared to the other major currencies of the world including Great British pound, Unites States dollar, Euro, etc. Also, one of the highest per capita incomes sustains in Kuwait due to its highly valued currency.

Kuwait has proven crude oil reserves of 104 million oil barrels (15 km³), estimated to be 10% of the world’s reserves. According to the Constitution of Kuwait, all natural resources in the country and the associated revenues are government property.

As Kuwait is a tax-free country, the oil industry represents 80% of government revenue. Petroleum and petrochemicals account for nearly half of the GDP and 95% of all export earnings. Since 2003, increasing oil prices have led to an increase in the economy of Kuwait. In 2007, estimated exports stood at 59.97 billion USD and imports were about 17.74 billion USD. The main exports are petroleum, petrochemicals, fertilizers, and financial services. Kuwait imports a wide range of products, from food and textiles to machinery. Kuwait's most important trading partners are Japan, the USA, India, South Korea, Singapore, China, the European Union, and Saudi Arabia. Japan is the largest consumer of Kuwaiti oil, followed by India, Singapore, and South Korea.

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