10 Most Expensive Currencies in 2017 (Hint: No. 1 Isn’t the U.S. Dollar)

Expensive Currency in 2015If you want to know what the most expensive currency is in 2017, then don’t bother looking at the U.S. dollar, the British pound, or the euro. Surprisingly, the most valuable currencies in the world don’t always belong to the wealthiest economies.

The following list of currencies gives the U.S. dollar a run for its money when it comes to the most expensive currency in the world. All exchange rates are as of October 4, 2016.

10. Australian Dollar (AUD)

One Australian dollar buys US$0.76

The Aussie dollar is a commodity-based currency, much like the Canadian dollar, but with the added exposure to Japan and Far East trade. The years 2013, 2014, and 2015 were horrendous for the natural resource sector, and that meant big losses in the Australian dollar. The currency plunged significantly. But, thanks to an uptick in commodity prices in 2016, it still clinched the final spot on our list of the top 10 most expensive currencies.

9. Singapore Dollar (SGD)

One Singapore dollar buys US$0.73

After gaining independence in 1965, Singapore’s currency, the Singapore dollar, came into existence as a pegged currency, first to the British pound and then to the U.S. dollar. However, the currency started free-floating 20 years later, giving the SGD room to run. Its value skyrocketed as Singapore became an intellectual hub of the East. Nowadays, with the country showing better-than-expected performance and remaining resilient, the Singapore dollar has gained strength and made it to the ninth spot on our list of the most expensive currencies in 2017.

8. Bruneian Dollar (BND)

One Bruneian dollar buys US$0.72

Brunei is a tiny nation found in Southeast Asia. Nestled between Malaysia and the South China Sea, this little country has an extremely high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Although the currency has fallen from its US$0.83 peak five years ago, the Bruneian dollar still packs a big punch in global forex markets.

7. Libyan Dinar (LYD)

One Libyan dinar buys US$0.72

During the so-called Arab Spring, Libya was plunged into chaos. Its iron-fisted dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown by a raging populist movement that failed to unify the country. Nonetheless, Libya’s bountiful supply of oil kept the nation’s currency in good standing. Even after the price slump in crude oil, the Libyan dinar remains number seven on our list of the most expensive currencies in 2017.

6. Swiss Franc (CHF)

One Swiss franc buys US$1.02

Switzerland’s famously secretive banking sector made its national currency a safe haven for international capital. The country pegged the franc to the euro when it joined the currency union, opting for a dual system rather than choosing to abolish the franc. However, it let the franc float freely last year, causing a sharp appreciation in the CHF to U.S. dollar exchange rate. Nonetheless, the Swiss franc remains a solid currency. It takes the sixth spot on our list of the most expensive currencies in 2017.

5. Euro (EUR)

One euro buys US$1.11

Despite its terribly dysfunctional economic and political systems, Europe still managed to keep the euro above the U.S. dollar. It remains one of the most expensive currencies on the planet, which is tragic for anyone who likes visiting Rome or Paris. With the European Central Bank (ECB) implementing a negative interest rate policy and being involved in quantitative easing, we are expecting the euro to slide down the list during 2017.

4. British Pound (GBP)

One British pound buys US$1.27

Despite tumbling significantly after the “Brexit” vote, the British pound remains relatively expensive for Americans. It looks like poaching Mark Carney (formerly of the Bank of Canada head) to run the Bank of England was a great idea for the pound. Just like the euro, it wouldn’t shock us if the British pound drops in the list of the most expensive currencies during 2017.

3. Omani Rial (OMR)

One Omani rial buys US$2.59

The Middle East has been in a bind since oil prices collapsed in the summer of 2014. Quite frankly, the real issues began when oil prices were above $100.00 a barrel, giving U.S. extractors the margins to fully develop shale technology. The resulting oversupply has decimated the crude oil market, but even so, the Omani rial is still outrageously expensive at $2.59.

2. Bahraini Dinar (BHD)

One Bahraini dinar buys US$2.65

The Bahraini dinar is certainly buoyant because of its ties to Saudi Arabia and the oil market, but it has one additional factor in its column: Bahrain is the home of an American naval base that is crucial to U.S. influence in the region. Its strategic importance gives the Kingdom of Bahrain an outsized role in foreign affairs, which has cemented its currency’s costly stature.

1. Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)

One Kuwaiti dinar buys US$3.31

The Kuwaiti dinar is another currency that benefits from crude oil, yet its history is a tangled mess. The currency first came online in 1961, valued at 1:13.33 against the Indian rupee, then went on to be measured against a basket of other currencies. Kuwait momentarily adopted the Iraqi dinar during the Gulf War, and later pegged the Kuwaiti dinar to the U.S. dollar. However, it’s been free-floating since 2007. In 2013, it became the most expensive currency in the world and it still stands in that spot.

Rank Country Name Currency Name
1 Kuwait Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)
2 Bahrain Bahraini Dinar (BHD)
3 Oman Omani Rial (OMR)
4 United Kingdom British Pound (GBP)
5 European Union Euro (EUR)
6 Switzerland Swiss Franc (CHF)
7 Libya Libyan Dinar (LYD)
8 Brunei Bruneian Dollar (BND)
9 Singapore Singapore Dollar (SGD)
10 Australia Australian Dollar (AUD)