Europe is an interesting continent consisting Eurozone (countries that adopt the Euro and official currency) and those that have either refused to join Euro-area or are still planning to do so.
With this variety of currencies in Europe, there is no uniform exchange rate. While the Great Britain Pounds, Euro, Swiss franc remain the strongest in Europe, the Hungarian forint, Icelandic krona and Albanian lek remain among the weakest currencies on the continent.
In this post, we will not be talking about the weakest currencies in Europe, but the most valuable currencies on the continent in terms of the power of such currencies when exchanged with the US dollars.
Note: The United States dollar isn’t the most valuable currency in the world, but it is the most important currency in international trade. And of course, in a few years to come, Euro might push the USD into the second position.
We’ll use the USD as the base and the local currency as the quote currency. So shall we get started?
- USD to GBP = £0.76
- EUR to GBP = £0.84
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom ceased to be a member of the European Union (EU), UK remains one of the major influential countries in Europe, so its currency, the Great Britain Pound or Pounds Sterling (£) is still the strongest on the continent at the time of publication.
If you are buying GBP with the EUR, you’d get less and vice versa. While it also means that you’d USD with the Pound Sterling (the gap would be more conspicuous on the quantity you want to buy).
Though due to its popularity in the forex trade market, Pound Stirling is often perceived as being the strongest currency in the world, that isn’t true. It’s however the oldest independent currency in the world
In the hierarchy of top 3, GBP is lesser at the exchange market when exchanged with Arabia currencies including Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD) which remains the world’s strongest currency, Bahraini Dinar (BHD), and Omani Rial (OMR)
Global economists and analysts are still studying how the decision of the UK to pull out of the EU would affect the strength of the Pound Sterling on the continent and in the global market.
USD to EUR = 0.90 Euro
The Euro is the official currency of the 19 countries of the EU, they are called the Euro-area. There are also some non-EU countries that adopt the Euro as their official currency.
The unity in currency among some countries in Europe has made the Euro the second most valuable currency on the continent.
The financial system of the EU is becoming more influential in global trade such that North Korea and Cuba internationally trade in the Euro, replacing the US dollar.
Additionally, the Iraqi oil sales which were formally quoted in US dollars were replaced with the Euro.
If a traveller takes $200 to the Euro-area, he would get €180.40. Apart from being one of the strongest currencies in Europe, the Euro is also one of the currencies that is worth more than the USD in the foreign exchange market.
No wonder the EUR is the second largest reserve currency after the US Dollar. And also the second most traded currency in the world.
Swiss franc (CHF)
- USD to CHF = 0.92 CHF
- EUR to CHF = 1.02 CHF
If you are new to the international forex market, one of the currencies you should joke with is the Swiss franc, the official currency of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Apart from being the major trading partner of the EU, Switzerland also have the second-highest per capita GDP in the world (USD86,601.56 USD as of 2020 based on World Bank statistics)
The EUR is slightly higher than the Swiss franc, at 1.02 CHF at the time of publication while it’s 1CHF is 1.08 USD at the time of publication.
In fact, some investors store the value of their wealth in the Switzerland currency. It is stable and the country has a strong banking sector which it uses as one of its comparative advantages. And of course, some present and past leaders in Africa and around the world including the late Nigerian despot Sani Abacha choose to store their ill-gotten monies in Swiss Banks.
It must be noted that Switzerland remains one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Next time you are thinking of investing in another territory, especially in Europe, Switzerland should be on top of your list.
- USD to BGN = 1.76 BGN
- EUR to BGN = 1.96 BGN
On our fourth is the Bulgarian lev, the official currency of Bulgaria. The strength of the Bulgarian currency might not be unconnected with its membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) even though the country has resolved to join the Eurozone by 2024.
This means that by the end of 2023, the lev will be faced out while the Euro will officially become the currency in Bulgarian. Till then, the Bulgarian lev remains the fourth-strongest currency in Europe.
When you visit stores in Bulgaria, prices might be shown EUR, but you will be charged in the lev.
Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (BAM)
- USD to BAM = 1.76 BAM
- GBP to BAM = 2.32 BAM
On the same spot as the lev is the official currency of currency Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe due to population decline and other developmental factors, don’t expect that just $5k USD will make you a million in Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (BAM) because that quantity would only translate to 8,807.50 BAM.
On February 15, 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina applied to be a member of the EU, up till now (March 31, 2022), his application has not been approved due to other requirements it has to meet.
- USD to BYN = 3.25BYN
- EUR to BYN = 3.61 BYN
In terms of GDP per capita, Belarus in no match to Switzerland, but the Belarus rubble is one of the currencies that is pulling some monetary strength when exchanged with the stakeholders in Europe.
The BYN has been through several floating. It looked a bit stabilised at the time of this publication.
The country’s recent support to Russia over the invasion of Ukraine might affect the country’s economy by the time the west begins to roll out its sanctions against Putin’s allies.
Measuring the strongest currencies may be a bit tricky unless another currency is either used as a base or as the quote currency.
Using the USD as the base in the above list, GBP, EUR, Swiss franc, Bulgarian lev, BAM and Belarus rubble are the strongest currencies in Europe.
However, based on international trade and central bank reserves, the pound sterling, Swiss franc and EUR are the most powerful currencies on that continent.
We must still give it Euro based on its growing influence in international trade. The non-EU member countries that adopt EUR as their official currency must have seen the potential the Euro holds for their economy and other advantages that come with Euro in the forex market.