The Swiss Franc


A Brief History of the Swiss Franc (CHF)

The Swiss Franc was recognised as Switzerland’s official currency in May 1850 after a long and interesting ‘currency’ past. The Swiss Franc replaced several other currencies – notably the 860 different coins circulated prior to the Helvetic Republic and then the 8,000 different coins in circulation up until 1848!

Between 1803 and 1850 it was recognised that less than 15% of the money in circulation was locally produced. In order to simplify the complex monetary system, the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 stated that the Federal Government would be the only body permitted to produce money in Switzerland going forward. Under the Federal Coinage Act 1850, all currencies were replaced by the Swiss Franc.

The Swiss Franc in the Global Foreign Exchange Market

The Swiss Franc ranks sixth among the most actively traded currencies in the foreign exchange market, accounting for 6.4% daily market trading volume.

The Swiss Franc or “swissie” trades most keenly against the US Dollar as the counter currency in the USD/CHF currency pair, although it also trades actively versus the Euro in the EUR/CHF pair.

The Swiss Franc has a reputation for being a safe haven or hard currency, due to Switzerland’s stable economy, low inflation rate, good credit standing and the Swiss Franc’s former convertibility into gold (although that was somewhat tarnished after the Swiss Franc’s convertibility into gold was terminated in 2000 following a referendum).

All CHF banknotes feature the four national languages of Switzerland: Germany, Romansh, French, and Italian.

Fact Table:

Currency Name: The Swiss Franc
Nicknames: Swissie
Currency Code: CHF
Currency Symbol: Fr. or SFr.
Central Bank: The Swiss National Bank
Countries Used In: Switzerland, Liechtenstein
Major Unit: One Swiss Franc
Minor Unit: Rappen (Rp.) in German or Centime (c.) in French
Note Denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1,000 francs
Coin Denominations: 5, 10 and 20 rappen, ½, 1, 2 and 5 francs.

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