|Bolívar fuerte venezolano (Spanish)|
|ISO 4217 code||VEF|
|Central bank||Banco Central de Venezuela|
|Inflation||120% highest in the world (July 2015)|
|Pegged with||U.S. dollar = Bs.F. 6.35
(Greatly different black market rate; see article text)
|Symbol||Bs.F. or Bs.|
|Nickname||bolo(s), luca(s), real(es)|
|Freq. used||5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, Bs.F. 1 |
|Rarely used||1c, 12½c|
|Banknotes||Bs.F. 2; 5; 10; 20; 50; 100|
The bolívar fuerte (sign: Bs.F. or Bs.; plural: bolívares fuertes; ISO 4217 code: VEF) has been the currency of Venezuela since 1 January 2008. It is subdivided into 100 céntimos and replaced the original bolívar (sign: Bs.; plural: bolívares; ISO 4217 code: VEB) at the rate of Bs.F. 1 = Bs. 1,000 because of inflation.
The bolívar was adopted by the monetary law of 1879, replacing the short-lived venezolano at a rate of five bolívares to one venezolano. Initially, the bolívar was defined on the silver standard, equal to 4.5g fine silver, following the principles of the Latin Monetary Union. The monetary law of 1887 made the gold bolívar unlimited legal tender, and the gold standard came into full operation in 1910. Venezuela went off gold in 1930, and in 1934 the bolívar exchange rate was fixed in terms of the U.S. dollar at a rate of 3.914 bolívares = 1 U.S. dollar, revalued to 3.18 bolívares = 1 U.S. dollar in 1937, a rate which lasted until 1941. Until 18 February 1983 (now called Black Friday (Viernes Negro) by many Venezuelans), the bolívar had been the region's most stable and internationally accepted currency. It then fell prey to high devaluation. Exchange controls were adopted since February 5, 2003 to limit capital flight, pegged to the U.S. dollar at a fixed exchange rate of 1600 VEB to the dollar.
The government announced on 7 March 2007 that the bolívar would be revalued at a ratio of 1 to 1000 on 1 January 2008 and renamed the bolívar fuerte in an effort to facilitate the ease of transaction and accounting. The new name is literally translated as "strong bolívar", but also references an old coin called the Peso fuerte worth 10 Spanish reales.
The name "bolívar fuerte" is only used temporarily to distinguish it from the older currency that is being used along with the bolívar fuerte.
The Central Bank of Venezuela is promoting the new currency with an ad campaign and the slogan: "Una economía fuerte, un bolívar fuerte, un país fuerte" (lit. "a strong economy, a strong bolívar, a strong country").
Some estimations suggest that the government spent more than US$320 million to introduce the new currency.
On 8 January 2010, the value was changed by the government from the fixed exchange rate of 2.15 bolívares fuertes to 2.60 bolívares for some imports (certain foods and healthcare goods) and 4.30 bolívares for other imports like cars, petrochemicals, and electronics.
On 4 January 2011, the fixed exchange rate became 4.30 bolívares for 1.00 USD for both sides of the economy.
It should be noted that the official exchange rate is restricted to individuals by CADIVI, which imposes an annual limit on the amount available for travel (up to $3000 annually depending on the location and duration of travel) and $400 for electronic purchases.
Since the government of Hugo Chavez established strict currency controls in 2003, there have been a series of five currency devaluations, disrupting the economy. The last devaluation was on 13 February 2013 (to 6.30 bolivars per dollar), in an attempt to counter budget deficits.
Currency black market
The black market value of the bolívar fuerte has been significantly lower than the fixed exchange rate. In November 2013, it was almost 10 times lower than the official fixed exchange rate of 6.3 Bolivars (VEF)/USD. In September 2014, the currency black market rate for the Bolivar Fuerte reached 100 VEF/USD; on 25 February 2015, it went over 200 VEF/USD. on 07 May, 2015, it was over 275 VEF/USD and on 23 May, 2015, it was over 430 VEF/USD. The BBC said Venezuela had the highest inflation rate in the world in July 2015.
In 1879, silver coins were introduced in denominations of 1⁄5, ½, 1, 2, and 5 bolívares, together with gold 20 bolívares. Gold 100 bolívares were also issued between 1886 and 1889. In 1894, silver ¼ bolívar coins were introduced, followed by cupro-nickel 5 and 12½ céntimos in 1896.
In 1912, production of gold coins ceased, whilst production of the 5 bolívares ended in 1936. In 1965, nickel replaced silver in the 25 and 50 céntimos, with the same happening to the 1 and 2 bolívares in 1967. In 1971, cupro-nickel 10 céntimo coins were issued, the 12½ céntimos having last been issued in 1958. A nickel 5 bolívares was introduced in 1973. Clad steel (first copper, then nickel and cupro-nickel) was used for the 5 céntimos from 1974. Nickel clad steel was introduced for all denominations from 25 céntimos up to 5 bolívares in 1989.
In 1998, after a period of high inflation, a new coinage was introduced consisting of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 bolívar denominations.
The former coins were:
- 10 bolívares
- 20 bolívares
- 50 bolívares
- 100 bolívares
- 500 bolívares
- 1000 bolívares (minted 2005, issued late 2006, incorrectly rumored as recalled due to official Coat of Arms change during the interval)
All the coins had the same design. On the obverse the left profile of the Libertador Simón Bolívar is depicted, along with the inscription "Bolívar Libertador" within a heptagon, symbolizing the seven stars of the flag. On the reverse the coat of arms is depicted, circled by the official name of the country, with the date and the denomination below. In 2001, the reverse design was changed, putting the denomination of the coin at the right of the shield of the coat of arms, Semi-Circled by the official name of the country and the year of its emission below.
Coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 12½, 25, 50 céntimos, and 1 bolívar. However, only the coins of 50 céntimos and 1 bolívar are widely used as most prices are rounded up to the next 50 céntimos. It will be noticed that there is a coin of 12½ céntimos and a coin of 1 céntimo; but no coin of ½ céntimo. It is therefore inconvenient to give correct change for a purchase of (for example) 53½ céntimos; this is however a largely academic "problem" as goods are priced (if they use the ½ at all) in 12½ céntimos increments. This nevertheless still presents theoretical mathematical problems, as there is also no 2½ céntimos coin.
|Denomination||Shape||Composition||Diameter||Edge||Obverse||Reverse||Obverse image||Reverse image|
|1 céntimo||Round||Copper plated steel||15 mm||Milled||Denomination of the coin, the eight stars and the waves representing the patterns of the national flag||Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
|5 céntimos||Round||Copper plated steel||17 mm||Smooth||Denomination of the coin, the eight stars and the waves representing the patterns of the national flag||Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
|10 céntimos||Round||Nickel plated steel||18 mm||Milled||Denomination of the coin, the eight stars and the waves representing the patterns of the national flag||Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
|12½ céntimos||Round||Nickel plated steel||23 mm||Smooth||Denomination of the coin, the eight stars of the national flag and two palm branches||Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
|25 céntimos||Round||Nickel plated steel||20 mm||Smooth||Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
|50 céntimos||Round||Nickel plated steel||22 mm||Smooth and Milled||Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
|Bs. 1||Round||Copper-Nickel center, Brass ring||24 mm||Smooth 'BCV1'||Effigy of the Liberator Simón Bolívar, waves representing the patterns of the national flag||Denomination of the coin, the eight stars and the waves representing the patterns of the national flag, the Coat of Arms of Venezuela and the name of the country of emission|
In 1940, the Banco Central de Venezuela began issuing paper money, introducing by 1945 denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 bolívares. 5 bolívar notes were issued between 1966 and 1974, when they were replaced by coins. In 1989, notes for 1, 2 and 5 bolívares were issued.
As inflation took hold, higher denominations of banknotes started being introduced: 1,000 bolívares in 1991, 2,000 and 5,000 bolívares in 1994, and 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 bolívares in 1998. The first 20,000 banknotes were made in a green color similar to the one of the 2,000 banknotes, which caused confusion, and new banknotes were made in the new olive green color.
The following is a list of a former Venezuelan bolívar banknotes.
|Pre-1998 series banknotes (from various series)|
|||||5 bolívares||1966||Simón Bolívar, Founding of Caracas by Diego de Losada||Early plan of Caracas|
|500 bolívares||1981||Simón Bolívar||A branch of orchids|
|1,000 bolívares||1991||Simón Bolívar||Signing of the Venezuelan Declaration of Independence|
|2,000 bolívares||1994||Antonio José de Sucre||The Battle of Junín|
|5,000 bolívares||1994||Simón Bolívar and his coat of arms||A reproduction of the painting El 19 de Abril de 1810 by Juan Lovera|
|2,000 bolívares||1998||Andrés Bello||A picture of frailejones and a view of the Pico Bolívar|
|5,000 bolívares||2000||Francisco de Miranda||Picture of two angelfishes and a panorama of the Guri Dam.|
|10,000 bolívares||2000||Antonio José de Sucre||A Marpesia petreus butterfly and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice|
|20,000 bolívares||2000||Simón Rodríguez and the Angel Falls in the background||A blue-and-yellow macaw and the Angel Falls|
|||||50,000 bolívares||2005||José María Vargas||Central University of Venezuela, Caracas|
Banknotes are in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 bolívares.
|||||2 bolívares||2008||Francisco de Miranda||Orinoco River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) with Coro Dunes in background; Gusano flower|
|||||5 bolívares||2008||Pedro Camejo||Giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) with the plains of Los Llanos in the background|
|||||10 bolívares||2008||Cacique Guaicaipuro||American harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) with the Ucaima Falls at Canaima National Park in the background|
|||||20 bolívares||2008||Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi||Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) with Macanao Mountain in the background|
|||||50 bolívares||2008||Simón Rodríguez||Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatos) with Laguna Santo Cristo at Sierra Nevada National Park in the background|
|||||100 bolívares||2008||Simón Bolívar||Red siskin (Carduelis cucullata) with Cerro El Ávila at El Ávila National Park in the background|
|Current VEF exchange rates|
|From Google Finance:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR|
|From Yahoo! Finance:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR|
|From XE:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR|
|From OANDA:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR|
|From fxtop.com:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR|
|From Currency.Wiki:||AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR|
- Ellsworth, Brian (13 February 2015). "Venezuela 2014 inflation hits 68.5 pct-central bank". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
- Simon Romero (February 9, 2008). "In Venezuela, Faith in Chávez Starts to Wane". New York Times.
- Banco Central de Venezuela. "B.C.V. Bolívar Fuerte ." Accessed 26 Feb 2011.
- "Venezuela Introduces New Currency". Gata. 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- The Economist
- CADIVI, Sistema Cambiario
- "Currency of Venezuela".
- television advertisements  for the new currency repeatedly use "fuerte" as meaning "strong" such as in "Una economía fuerte" (a strong economy) and "¡Aquí hay fuerza!" (There's strength in this!)
- Rueda, Jorge (2008-01-01). "Venezuela cuts three zeros off bolivar currency". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Numismatic Catalog of Venezuela. "Coins in Pesos Fuerte". Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "Chavez Passes Law-Decree on Monetary Reform in Venezuela".
- "Venezuela will slash value of currency, the bolivar". BBC. 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
- Mander, Benedict (10 February 2013). "Venezuelan devaluation sparks panic". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Chavez Devaluation Puts Venezuelans to Queue on Price Raise". Bloomberg. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Stuck in Venezuela with those currency exchange blues". Los Angeles Times. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Venezuela bolivar hits record low 100/U.S. dollar on black market". Reuters. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Venezuela’s bolívar tumbles beyond 200 mark". Financial Times. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- Pardo, Daniel (8 July 2015). "Living with Venezuela's high inflation". BBC News (UK). Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Otis, John. "Venezuela forces ISPs to police Internet". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
- Numismatic Catalog of Venezuela. "Coins from Venezuela : 1000 Bolívares - Design B, Type A". Retrieved 2011-01-07.
- Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
- Pick, Albert (1994). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money: General Issues. Colin R. Bruce II and Neil Shafer (editors) (7th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-207-9.
- Numismatic Catalog of Venezuela
- History of Venezuelan Currency (Spanish)
- Bolivar Actual vs. Bolivar Fuerte (Spanish)