||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (May 2012)|
|Leu românesc (Romanian)|
|ISO 4217 code||RON|
|Central bank||National Bank of Romania (since 1867)
Red Army (1944)
General Romanian Bank (1917-1919)
Socialist Republic of Romania (1965-1989)
People's Republic of Romania (1947-1965)
Transnistria Governorate (1941-1944)
Kingdom of Romania (1881-1947)
Principality of Romania (1867-1881)
|Source||National Bank of Romania |
|Freq. used||10, 50 bani|
|Rarely used||1 ban, 5 bani|
|Freq. used||1 leu, 5, 10, 50, 100 lei|
|Rarely used||200, 500 lei|
|Printer||National Bank of Romania (since 1867)
|Mint||Monetăria Statului (since 1867)
Saint Petersburg Mint, temporary located in Krasnokamsk (1944)
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.
First leu: 1867-1947 
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. The first leu coin was minted in Romania in 1870.
Before 1878 the silver Russian ruble was valued so highly as to drive the native coins out of circulation. Consequently, in 1889, Romania unilaterally 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 and the National Bank issued the banknote with the highest denomination in its history: the 5 million lei banknote.
Second leu: 1947-1952 
A revaluation ("Great stabilization", marea stabilizare) took place on August 15, 1947, replacing the old leu at a rate of 20,000 old lei = 1 new leu. No advance warning was given and there were limits for the sums to be converted in the new currency: 5 million lei vechi for farmers and 3 million lei for workers and pensioners. Out of the 48.5 billion old lei in circulation, only around half were changed to new lei. The most affected was the economic elite, who were later affected by the nationalization of 1948. At the time of its introduction, 150 new lei equalled 1 U.S. dollar.
Third leu (ROL): 1952-2005 
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.
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 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 partial food rationing in 1980 and full rationing for all basic foods in 1986/87. This was a major factor in growing discontent with Ceauşescu, and contributed in part to the fall of the Communist regime in 1989.
|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, 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 was briefly the world's least valued currency unit, 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 (LEU): 2005-Present 
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.
|This article is part of a series on|
|Symbols of Romania|
Future: Euro 
The euro is expected to replace the leu on 1 January 2015.
The one-ban coin is rare and not in demand by either banks or retailers. Supermarkets however continue to advertise prices such as 9.99. In practice, retailers almost always round to the nearest 5 bani and recently to 10 bani.
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 Națională a României, 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 National Bank's.
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 Române introduced 10, 25 and 100 lei notes. In 1966, the Banca Națională a Republicii Socialiste România 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 changed, making its safety features similar to the lower values of 1 leu and 5 lei notes).
|Current RON exchange rates|
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|From fxtop.com:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD|
See also 
- Banca Națională a României: Current value of inflation (April 2013 / April 2012)
- "Fifth Report on the Practical Preparations for the Future Enlargement of the Euro Area" (PDF). Commission of the European Communities. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Gruia, Cătălin (2012). "Metamorfozele leului". National Geographic Romania (July 2012). Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Romania New Leu, Global Financial Data.com
- "Romaniam Leu is the least valued currency unit in the world". Banii Nostri. 2005-04-18. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- (Romanian) Gândul, Moneda de 1 ban n-are căutare, November 3, 2005. Accessed on January 1, 2007
|Wikinews has related news: Romania redenominates its currency|
- Current legal tender pictures
- www.denominare.ro — The official site of the leu revaluation
- Comprehensive catalog of Romanian coins and banknotes.
- www.bancnoteleromanesti.go.ro - All Romanian banknotes from the beginning until now.
- Romanian coins / Monede româneşti - Encyclopedia of Romanian coins in English and Romanian
- Romanian Coins Catalogue
- Romanian Banknotes Catalogue