In this Spotlight we’ll focus on the currency used in the Dominican Republic – the peso. As the most visited country in the Caribbean, it can’t hurt to have a grasp of the peso before you head down to the tropics!
Fast Facts: Peso
- Dominican Peso Symbol: $
- Dominican Currency Code: DOP
- Coins: $1, $5, $10, $25
- Banknotes: $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, $1000, $2000
- Dominican Republic GDP (nominal): US$64.077 billion (70th)
- Central Bank: Central Bank of the Dominican Republic
History: Currency used in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican peso as we know it was introduced in 1937. Prior to this, the country had used a variety of different currencies. During the period of Haitian rule, the Haitian gourde was used. The first Dominican peso replaced the gourde on par in 1844. It was later decimalized and issued alongside a currency known as the franco.
In 1905 however, the US dollar replaced all existing currencies. The US dollar remained in use until 1947, however the peso oro was issued in 1937 and used alongside the dollar for a time. Once use of the dollar was discontinued, the peso oro remained in place and has lasted until this day.
Notes and Coins
The designs and denominations of coins have changed much over the years. During Trujillo’s reign, the coins often featured symbols of the party or state. After his assassination, other commemorative coins have been released – some featuring the Mirabel sisters and Juan Pablo Duarte (one of the founding fathers). As inflation increased, the denominations got higher – so much so that it is now extremely rare to see any centavo coins in circulation.
The banknotes have also been through numerous iterations since their inception – for instance, all references to Trujillo were removed after his death. The current series is differentiated by colour, and features famous Dominican historical figures or landmarks. Among these are the National Palace, the Mirabel sisters, the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, and many others.
The main point of comparison for the DOP has generally been the USD (as is usually the case with Latin American countries). While the DOP was introduced on par with the USD, the relative value has steadily decreased in the decades since. Throughout most of the 2000’s, the DOP remained relatively stable around the 1 DOP to 35-39 USD mark (although there were a few periods of sharp depreciation). With the value of the USD increasing, the DOP continues to depreciate in value against it.
The value of USD.DOP at time of writing (11:30AM, July 24 2015) is 45.0749
The value of CAD.DOP at time of writing (11:30AM, July 24 2015) is 34.5639
The Dominican economy is the largest in the Caribbean, and one that has been undergoing recent shifts. Agriculture, mining, and trade remain highly important sectors, however the service industry has recently grown into the country’s largest employer. This is largely down to increased tourism in the country (the Dominican Republic is the most visited country in the Caribbean). The ‘Free Trade Zones’, which the country is a part of, have also contributed greatly to the country’s GDP. Clothes, medical devices, sugar, coffee, tobacco (especially cigars), and more are popular exports – particularly in the United States, which accounts for about three quarters of all export revenue.
Overall, the country is in relatively good shape thanks to existing industries and resources coupled with high amounts of tourism. Though there are economically depressed areas and issues within the electricity industry, the Dominican Republic remains one of the more prosperous countries in the region.
For a broader understanding of Dominican history and culture check out our Country of the Week profile. For information about traveling to the Dominican Republic then be sure to follow our Travel Guide.
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