What is the Colombian Peso (COP)?
The Colombian Peso is the official currency of the Republic of Colombia. The peso is sometimes designated with a standard dollar sign – $ – and at other times denoted as COL$. The forex market symbol for the Colombian peso is COP.
The peso is divided into 100 centavos. However, because the value of Colombia’s currency is extremely low, although 1 centavo and 5 centavo coins still exist, the lowest denomination of the Colombian peso that is commonly used is the 50 pesos coin.
The central bank of Colombia – Banco de la República – is the entity tasked with issuing Colombian currency and with monitoring and controlling the foreign exchange rate for the peso.
- The Colombian peso is the official currency of the Republic of Colombia.
- Colombian banknotes are printed in denominations of 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 pesos. Coins are also minted in denominations of 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 pesos.
- The central bank of Colombia – Banco de la República – is the entity tasked with issuing Colombian currency and monitoring and controlling the peso’s foreign exchange rate.
Colombian Peso Currency
The peso was first produced in 1837, when it replaced the Spanish real. At that time, the peso was pegged to the real at an exchange rate of 8 reals to 1 peso. During the rest of the 19th century, Colombian currency included gold and silver coins in varying denominations, up to a 10 peso gold coin. Modern Colombian coins are minted, like those of other currencies, using primarily copper and nickel alloys.
In the early 20th century, the Colombian peso was pegged to the British pound sterling. Still, the government transferred the peg to the US dollar in 1931 at an exchange rate of 1.05 pesos to 1 US dollar, when Britain abandoned the gold standard. The peg to the US dollar remained until 1949, when continuing inflation in Colombia forced the central bank to abandon the US dollar peg.
Colombia ceased minting all centavos coins – those with a value of less than 1 peso – in 1984. In the most recently minted coin series in Colombia – the 2012 series – the lowest denomination coin minted and in circulation is the 50 pesos coin. Coins are also minted in denominations of 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 pesos.
Colombian banknotes are printed in denominations of 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 pesos. The 50,000 peso banknote is distinguished by the fact that, unlike most banknotes of any currency, its image is printed vertically instead of horizontally.
The Colombian Economy
Despite its inflation problems, Colombia’s economy continues to thrive and grow remarkably, with the country’s GDP growth rate reaching as high as nearly 7% in recent years.
Over the past century, the Colombian economy’s undergone a dramatic transition, changing from an almost entire agrarian economy to an economy where the services sector accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP.
Key Colombian exports include oil, coal, cut flowers, bananas, textiles, and emeralds. The country’s mines produce 80%-90% of the world’s total supply of emeralds. Colombia conducts substantial import-export trade worldwide. Its principal trading partners include both China and the United States.
However, despite its overall strong economic performance, Colombia faces consistently high poverty and unemployment rates. Just over 25% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, with unemployment rates fluctuating between 9% and 12% in recent years.
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