December 13, 2019

Syria: New 50-pound currency coin released into circulation, replacing banknote

The Central Bank of the Syrian Arab Republic has released (26th December) new circulation-type 50-pound-denominated ($U.S. 0.08) coins which the bank has confirmed are introduced to replace the banknote of the same denomination.

The current 50-pound banknote was introduced into circulation in 2010 as part of a new series of banknotes including the 50, 100, and 200-pound values. 500 and 1,000-pound notes were issued in 2013 within the same series and were joined by the 2,000-pound ($U.S. 3.20) denomination in 2017.

The Central Bank indicated that the change from a banknote to the issuance of a coin is seen as the result of high inflation in the country where the purchasing power of 50 Syrian pounds has declined steadily. The denomination is viewed and utilised more like a fractional rather than a standard value of the currency in circulation. Quite often, prices indicate that little can be purchased for less than 50 pounds, and, as a result, consumers dislike the use of a banknote for transactions of this value. 50-pound banknotes also have a very short life-span currently as they can last for as little as only six months while a coin can remain in circulation for more than 25 years. At the time of the introduction of the latest version of the 50-pound banknote in 2010, it was equal in exchange to one U.S. dollar. Over the years, inflation has eroded the value of the country’s currency. Currently, the value of the Syrian pound ranges from 512 to 625 per U.S. dollar, according to the Central Bank, in unofficial channels.

With the release of the new 50-pound coin, it is likely this will be the smallest circulating denomination within the Syrian economy since 5, 10, and 25-pound coins are almost never used in cash transactions. The Central Bank has offered assurances that the coin has been produced in satisfactory quantities to meet the needs of the public.

The obverse side of the new nickel-coloured coins includes the national insignia of the Syrian Arab Republic which is placed in the centre. Below is the insignia of an eagle. Along with a shield are the years 2018 and 1431. Both years and shown in Arabic numerals.  The reverse side depicts the country’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is centred. On the left side is the text 50 SYP arranged in two lines with the equivalent shown on the right side in Arabic script. Below the primary design is the text FIFTY SYRIAN POUNDS and above the motif is the equivalent in Arabic script.

For additional information about the coins of Syria, please visit their website. Banknote information can be viewed here.

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