Romanian leu: Wikis

  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...


More interesting facts on Romanian leu

Include this on your site/blog:

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Romanian leu
Leu românesc (Romanian)
one leu one ban
one leu one ban
ISO 4217 Code RON
User(s)  Romania
Inflation 4.65% (target 3.5 ± 1)
Source National Bank of Romania [1] (November 2009)
Subunit
1/100 bani
Plural lei
bani bani
Coins
Freq. used 5, 10, 50 bani
Rarely used 1 ban
Banknotes
Freq. used 1 leu, 5, 10, 50, 100 lei
Rarely used 200, 500 lei
Central bank National Bank of Romania
Website www.bnr.ro
Printer National Bank of Romania
Website www.bnr.ro
Mint Monetăria Statului
Website www.monetariastatului.ro

The leu (Romanian pronunciation: [lew], plural lei [lej]; ISO 4217 code RON; numeric code 946) is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani (singular: ban). The name of the currency means "lion". On 1 July 2005, Romania underwent a currency reform, switching from the previous leu (ROL) to a new leu (RON). 1 RON is equal to 10,000 ROL. The currency of Moldova is also called the leu, but is independent of the Romanian leu.

Romania joined the European Union on 1 January 2007 and it is expected to adopt the euro in 2014.[2]

Contents

Etymology

During the 17th century, Dutch daalder bearing a lion (leeuwendaalder) circulated in the Romanian principalities; they were often called lei (lions). The name was kept as a generic term for money, and became the official name of the national currency in 1867 after several attempts to impose a more nationalist name, such as român (cf. franc) or romanat (cf. ducat). The Bulgarian lev and the Albanian lek have the same etymology.

The subdivision of leu is the ban, pl. bani (the 'i' in the plural is virtually silent), meaning both "money" and "coin".[3].

History

First leu

10 bani copper coin, 1867
5 lei coin minted in 1883

On April 22, 1867, a bimetallic currency was adopted, with the leu equal to 5 grams of 83.5% silver or 0.29032 grams of gold.

After 1878 the silver Russian ruble was valued so highly as to drive the native coins out of circulation. Consequently, in 1889, Romania joined the Latin Monetary Union and adopted a gold standard. Silver coins were legal tender only up to 50 lei. All taxes and customs dues were to be paid in gold and, owing to the small quantities issued from the Romanian mint, foreign gold coins were current, especially French 20-franc pieces (equal at par to 20 lei), Turkish gold lire (22.70), old Russian imperials (20.60) and British sovereigns (25.22).

Romania left the gold standard in 1914 and the leu's value fell. The exchange rate was pegged at 167.20 lei = 1 U.S. Dollar on February 7, 1929, 135.95 lei on November 5, 1936, 204.29 lei on May 18, 1940, and 187.48 Lei on March 31, 1941. During Romania's World War II alliance with Nazi Germany, the leu was pegged to the Reichsmark at a rate of 49.50 lei = 1 Reichsmark, falling to 59.5 lei in April 1941. During Soviet occupation, the exchange rate was 1 ruble = 100 lei. After the war, the value of the currency fell dramatically.[4]

Second leu

On August 15, 1947, a revaluation took place, with a new leu replacing the old one at a rate of 20,000 old lei = 1 new leu. This revaluation, called a monetary reform or stabilisation measure (mica stabilizare, marea stabilizare), was carried out by the Communist authorities with absolutely no advance warning and without the possibility to exchange more than a fixed amount of money for the new currency. This was done in order to depose the former middle and upper classes of their last assets, after nationalization, to prepare for collectivization and to finalize the installation of communism. At the time of its introduction, 150 new lei equalled 1 U.S. dollar.

Third leu (ROL)

a 10 lei banknote issued in 1966

On January 28, 1952, another new leu was introduced. Unlike the previous revaluation, different rates were employed for different kinds of exchange (cash, bank deposits, debts etc) and different amounts. These rates ranged from 20 to 400 "old lei" for 1 "new" leu. Again, no advance warning was given before the reform took place

During the communist era, the gold standard was dropped after requiring severe adjustments to prevent inflation following the revaluations. After the gold standard was dropped, the leu lost convertibility and, between 1970 and 1989, the official exchange rate was fixed by the government through law. This exchange rate was used by the government to calculate the value of foreign trade, but foreign currency was not available to be bought and sold by private individuals. Owning or attempting to buy or sell foreign currency was a criminal offence, punishable with a prison sentence that could go up to 10 years (depending on the amount of foreign currency found under one's possession). International trade was therefore considered as part of another economic circuit than domestic trade, and given greater priority. This inflexibility and the existence of surplus money due to constant economic decline in the 1980s, mixed with the need for more foreign currency and the refusal of the very unpopular Ceauşescu regime to accept inflation as a phenomenon in order to attain convertibility, led to one of the greatest supply side crises in Romanian history, culminating with the introduction of food rationing starting 1986/87, and partly triggering the downfall of communism.

1 million lei front.jpg100L av.jpg
1,000,000 old lei
168 mm × 78 mm
100 new lei
147 mm × 82 mm
Same design, different sizes. The images are to scale.

In the 1990s, after the downfall of communism, inflation ran high due to reform failures, the legalization of owning foreign currency in 1990, and the bankrupt policies of the former communist era, reaching rates as high as 300% per year in 1993. By September 2003, one euro was exchanged for more than 40,000 lei, this being its peak value. Following a number of successful monetary policies in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the situation became gradually more stable, with one digit inflation in 2005.

The Romanian leu briefly held the dubious distinction of being the world's least valued currency unit[5], from January (when the Turkish lira dropped six zeros) to July 2005. However, the 1,000,000 lei bill was not the highest Romanian denomination ever. This distinction belongs to the 5 million lei bill from 1947.

Fourth leu (RON)

As of late 2008, some price tags still showed the cost of items in both ROL and RON

On 1 July 2005, the leu was revalued at the rate of 10,000 "old" lei (ROL) for one "new" leu (RON), thus psychologically bringing the purchasing power of the leu back in line with those of other major Western currencies. The term chosen for the action was "denominare", similar to the English "denomination", to signify not a conversion, but rather a total reinvention.

The first day brought difficulties adjusting to the new paper currencies and closed ATMs (that needed reprogramming) and forcing a new calculation habit that slowed down shops and annoyed some sales staff and older shoppers. The old ROL currency banknotes remained in circulation until December 31, 2006 (coins remained in circulation only until December 31, 2005), but all accounts have been converted starting July 1, 2005. There is no conversion time limit between the currencies. Retailers had to display prices in both old and new currency from March 1, 2005 until June 30, 2006. The appreciation of the leu during 2005 was about 20% against a basket of major currencies.

As of 2006, the revaluation is a potential source of confusion, especially to visitors, since both old and new currency values are commonly quoted. When written, the very large amounts in old currency are usually obvious, but in speaking inhabitants might refer to an amount of 5 new lei as simply "fifty" in reference to its value of 50,000 old lei.

Future: Euro

The euro is expected to replace the leu on 1 January 2014.[2]

Coins

Flag and coat of arms of Romania
This article is part of
Symbols of Romania series
Flag of Romania · (history) · (list)
Coat of arms of Romania
Romanian Anthem
Romanian heraldry
Orders, decorations and medals
Postage stamps of Romania
Romanian leu
Symbols of Romanian Royalty

First leu

In 1867, copper 1, 2, 5 and 10 bani were issued, with gold 20 lei (known as poli after the French Napoleons) first minted the next year. These were followed, between 1870 and 1873, by silver 50 bani, 1 and 2 lei. Silver 5 lei were added in 1880. Uniquely, the 1867 issue used the denomination 1 banu rather than 1 ban.

In 1900, cupro-nickel 5, 10 and 20 bani coins were introduced, with holed versions following in 1905. The production of coins ceased in 1914, recommencing in 1921 with aluminium 25 and 50 bani pieces. Cupro-nickel 1 and 2 lei coins were introduced in 1924, followed by nickel brass 10, 20 and 50 lei in 1930. In 1932, silver 100 lei coins were issued. However, inflation meant that, in 1935, smaller silver 250 lei coins were introduced with nickel 100 lei coins being issued in 1936, followed by nickel 50 lei in 1937.

In 1941 and 1942, zinc 2, 5 and 20 lei coins were introduced, together with silver 200 and 500 lei. Nickel-clad-steel 100 lei followed in 1943, with brass 200 and 500 lei issued in 1945. In 1946 and 1947, a new coinage was issued consisting of aluminium 500 lei, brass 2000 and 10,000 lei, and silver 25,000 and 100,000 lei.

Second leu

In 1947, coins were issued before the overthrow of King Michael I, in denominations of 50 bani, 1, 2 and 5 lei. After the creation of the People's Republic, new coins were issued between 1948 and 1952, in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 20 lei.

Third leu

In 1952, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10 and 25 bani, with the 1, 3 and 5 struck in aluminium bronze and the others in cupro-nickel. In 1955, cupro-nickel 50 bani were added.

In 1960, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of 15 and 25 bani, with 5 bani, 1 and 3 lei coins added in 1963. All were struck in nickel-clad steel. In 1975, aluminium replaced steel in the 5 and 15 bani, with the same change happening for the 25 bani in 1982. Aluminium 5 lei were introduced in 1978.

Third Leu Coins — 1960 Series
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse first minting withdrawal lapse
5 bani Nickel plated steel Smooth Value, year of minting Coat of arms, state title 1960 1966
15 bani Nickel plated steel Value, olive leaves
25 bani Nickel plated steel Value, agricultural scene, weat
1 leu Nickel plated steel Value, agricultural landscape; industrial elements in the background 1963
3 lei Nickel plated steel "~*~*" Value, industrial landscape
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.
Third Leu Coins — 1966 Series
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse first minting withdrawal lapse
5 bani Nickel plated steel Smooth Value, year of minting Coat of arms, state title 1966 1992
Aluminium 1975
15 bani Nickel plated steel Value, olive leaves Coat of arms, state title, year of minting 1966
Aluminium 1975
25 bani Nickel plated steel Value, agricultural scene, weat 1966
Aluminium 1982
1 leu Nickel plated steel Value, agricultural landscape; industrial elements in the background 1966
3 lei Nickel plated steel "~*~*" Value, industrial landscape 1966
5 lei Aluminium Value, industrial scene 1978
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

Following the end of the communist regime, a new coinage was introduced between 1990 and 1992, consisting of 1 leu in bronze clad steel, 5 and 10 lei in nickel plated steel, 20 and 50 lei in brass clad steel and nickel plated steel 100 lei.

Third Leu Coins — 1990 Series
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse first minting withdrawal lapse
L1 - 1992.jpg 1 leu 19 mm 2.50 g Copper plated steel Smooth Value, oak leaves, weat Insignia of the National Bank, state title, year of minting, oak leaves 1992 1 July 2005 Indefinite
L1ROL.jpg Value, state title, weat Coat of arms, year of minting 1993 1 July 2005 Indefinite
L5.jpg 5 lei 21 mm 3.35 g Nickel plated steel Smooth State Title, value, oak leaves Coat of arms, year of minting 1992 2004 (?) (?)
L10 - 1992.jpg 10 lei 23 mm 4.65 g "~ ♦ ~ ♦ ~ ♦" Value, year of minting, olive leaves Flag, state title,
"22 DECEMBRIE 1989"
1990
L10.jpg 5 g Smooth State title, value, olive leaves Coat of arms, year of minting 1992
L20.jpg 20 lei 24 mm 5 g Brass plated steel Smooth Value, oak leaves, year of minting Ştefan cel Mare, state title, "ŞTEFAN CEL MARE" 1991 2004 (?) (?)
L50.jpg 50 lei 26 mm 5.9 g Value, olive leaves, year of minting Alexandru Ioan Cuza, state title, "ALEXANDRU IOAN CUZA" 1991
L100.jpg 100 lei 29 mm 8.75 g Nickel plated steel "ROMANIA *** ROMANIA *** ROMANIA ***" Value, oak leaves, olive leaves, year of minting Mihai Viteazul, state title, "MIHAI VITEAZUL" 1991 1 July 2005 Indefinite
L500.jpg 500 lei 24 mm 3.75 g Magnesium - Aluminium alloy (AlMg3) "ROMANIA ♦ ROMANIA ♦ ROMANIA ♦" State title, value, olive leaves Coat of arms, year of minting, olive leaves 1999
L1000.jpg 1,000 lei 22 mm 2 g Alternately smooth and milled State title, value, year of minting, Coat of arms Constantin Brâncoveanu, years of rule, "CONSTANTIN BRANCOVEANU" 2000
L5000.jpg 5,000 lei 24 mm
dodecagonal
2.50 g Twelve edges State title, value Coat of arms, year of minting, ornamental leaves 2001
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

As inflation took its toll, 500, 1000 and 5000 lei coins were introduced in 1999, 2000 and 2001, respectively, and were the only coins circulating when the revaluation occurred. They were all criticized for being clumsy and difficult to use. The 500 lei coins were very thick (about 0.3 cm). Despite their small value, it took only a handful of such coins to fill one's pocket. They were also made of poor material and could be occasionally found with bite marks. The 1000 lei coin was considered too small and was also cheaply made, and the 5000 lei coin was not circular (it was a dodecagon). This made it awkward to handle and difficult to use in slot machines, where it was frequently the only coin accepted. The 500, 1000 and 5000 lei coins became worth 5, 10 and 50 bani with the revaluation.

Fourth leu

In 2005, the following coins were introduced for circulation:

New Leu Coins
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of
Diameter Thickness Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse first minting issue
Coins of Romania 1 Ban 2005.jpg 1 ban 16.75 mm 1.6 mm 2.4 g Brass plated steel Smooth Coat of arms, state title, year of minting Value 2005 1 July 2005
5 Bani 2005.jpg 5 bani 18.25 mm 1.6 mm 2.78 g Copper plated steel Milled (102 reeds) Coat of arms, state title, year of minting Value 2005 1 July 2005
10 Bani 2005.jpg 10 bani 20.50 mm 1.8 mm 4.0 g Nickel plated steel Alternately smooth and milled (3 groups of 20 reeds) Coat of arms, state title, year of minting Value 2005 1 July 2005
50b.jpg 50 bani 23.75 mm 1.9 mm 6.1 g Brass
80% copper
15% zinc
5% nickel
"ROMANIA * ROMANIA *" Coat of arms, state title, year of minting Value 2005 1 July 2005
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

The 1 ban coin is rare and not in demand by either banks or retailers.[6] In practice, retailers almost always round to the nearest 5 bani.

The new coins have also faced criticism. Their size and very simple design make the coins hard to distinguish for the visually impaired. The quality of the materials used is also questionable, with coins becoming oxidized and dark within weeks from the initial release.

Banknotes

First leu

In 1877, state notes were introduced in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 lei. In 1880, these notes were overstamped for issue by the Banca Nationala a Romaniei, which began to issue regular notes in 1881 in denominations of 20, 100 and 1000 lei.

In 1914, 5 lei notes were reintroduced, followed by 1 and 2 lei notes in 1915 and 500 lei in 1916. The Ministry of Finance issued very small sized notes for 10, 25 and 50 bani in 1917. 500 lei notes were introduced in 1940, followed by 10,000 and 100,000 lei in 1945 and 1 and 5 million lei in 1947. In 1945, the Ministry of Finance issued 20 and 100 lei notes to replace those of the Banca Nationala.

Second leu

In 1947, the Ministry of Finance introduced 20 lei notes and Banca Naţională a României introduced 100, 500 and 1000 lei notes. In 1949, Banca Republicii Populare Române took over the production of paper money and issued 500 and 1000 lei notes.

Third leu

In 1952, the Ministry of Finance introduced notes for 1, 3 and 5 lei, and the Banca Republicii Populare Romane introduced 10, 25 and 100 lei notes. In 1966, the Banca Nationala a Republicii Socialiste Romania took over the production of all paper money, issuing notes for 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 lei.

In 1991, 500 and 1000 lei notes were introduced, followed by 200 and 5000 lei notes in 1992, 10,000 lei in 1994, 50,000 lei in 1996, 100,000 lei in 1998, 500,000 lei in 2000 and 1 million lei in 2003. There was also a 2,000 lei note introduced in 1999; it celebrated the total solar eclipse that occurred on August 11, 1999. The final issues of the 2000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 and 1 million lei were polymer notes.

Notes in circulation at the revaluation were:

  • 10,000 lei (became 1 leu)
  • 50,000 lei (became 5 lei)
  • 100,000 lei (became 10 lei)
  • 500,000 lei (became 50 lei)
  • 1,000,000 lei (became 100 lei)

Fourth leu

In 2005, polymer notes were introduced for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 lei. 200 lei notes were added in 2006. The designs of the 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 lei notes are based on those of the earlier 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, 500,000 and 1 million lei notes which they replaced. The 10 lei bill was redesigned in November 2008 (most of the graphic elements are identical, some of the safety elements were withdrawn, making its safety degree similar the lower values of 1 leu and 5 lei bills).

Current RON exchange rates
From Google Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From Yahoo! Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From XE.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD
From OANDA.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.bnr.ro/Home.aspx
  2. ^ a b "Fifth Report on the Practical Preparations for the Future Enlargement of the Euro Area" (PDF). Commission of the European Communities. 16 July 2007. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/com/2007/com2007_0434en01.pdf. Retrieved 6 January 2009.  
  3. ^ Ban, a Romanian currency
  4. ^ Romania New Leu, Global Financial Data.com
  5. ^ "Romaniam Leu is the least valued currency unit in the world". Banii Nostri. 2005-04-18. http://www.baniinostri.ro/stiri/article.php?ContentID=574. Retrieved 2008-09-28.  
  6. ^ (Romanian) Gândul, Moneda de 1 ban n-are căutare, November 3, 2005. Accessed on January 1, 2007

External links


Simple English

The leu is the money that is used in Romania. The smaller kind of money used is the ban, or bani(plural). 100 bani make up a leu. Because Romania joined the European Union, they will start using the euro in 2014.









Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message