The Swedish krona: the 9th most traded currency in the world

Here’s the information you need about the value and trading history of the Swedish krona, and about Sweden’s view on the euro.

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The Swedish krona (SEK, kr) is the official currency of Sweden. It’s common in English to refer to this currency as the Swedish crown, because krona translates to crown.

The accession treaty of 1995 required Sweden to convert its official currency to the euro. In a 2003 Swedish referendum that saw an overall turnout of 82.6%, 56% of voters opposed the adoption of the euro as the official currency. In 2009, Sweden’s Prime Minister stated that the country would not hold a new referendum on this issue until it garnered support from all political parties and the general public.

Support from the general public for Sweden to adopt the euro remained low, and in September 2013 as little as 9% of Sweden’s population considered adopting the euro to be a good idea.

The Swedish krona’s exchange rate against other countries has long depended on the country’s monetary policy at the time. It has followed the managed float system since November 1992.

Value and exchange rates of the Swedish krona

Sweden was not an active participant in the Second World War, so it didn’t have to go through the process of rebuilding its banking system and economic base, as was the case with several European nations. As of now, this country has the second highest tax revenue in Europe, after Denmark.

The Swedish Riksbank, founded in 1668, is the oldest operating central bank in the world, and it’s responsible for issuing currency in Sweden. The timeline of the krona’s value looks something like this.

PeriodDescription
May 1873Upon the krona’s introduction, it took to the gold standard, where 2,480 kronor equalled one kg of gold.
August 1914Sweden stopped the gold standard.
November 1922It de facto re-established the link to gold.
April 1924It de jure re-established the link to gold.
September 1931It abolished the gold link again, and switched to the floating rate regime.
June 1933Sweden introduced a tie between the krona and the British pound, where one British pound equalled SEK19.40.
August 1939The krona was linked to the US dollar and was valued at SEK4.20 to one US dollar.
July 1946The krona underwent a controlled appreciation of over 14% against gold and all other currencies. At this point one US dollar was valued at SEK3.60.
September 1949This time around the krona witnessed a controlled depreciation of more than 30% against the US dollar, trading at SEK5.17 against the dollar.
August 1951Sweden took to the Bretton Woods system and also became a member of the International Monetary Fund.
December 1971There was a controlled appreciation of 7.5% against the US dollar and a 1% depreciation against gold.
February 1973There was a controlled appreciation of 5.6% against the US dollar and a 5% depreciation against gold.
March 1973Sweden became a member of the European “currency snake”.
October 1976There were exchange rate adjustments within the snake, and the krona saw a 3% controlled depreciation against the Deutsche Mark.
April 1977The krona underwent another controlled depreciation, this time of 6% against the Deutsche Mark.
August 1977The krona exited the snake, and went through a controlled depreciation of 10% against the “currency basket”.
September 1981 and October 1982 The krona witnessed a controlled depreciation of 10% and 16% against the currency basket.
May 1991Sweden introduced a unilateral tie to the European Currency Unit (ECU), where one ECU was valued at SEK7.40.
November 1992Sweden switched to the floating exchange rate system.

The table below gives you an indication of the krona’s changing fortunes against some major currencies in recent times.

19902000200520102015
US dollar6.16438.49356.88697.13558.0820
EuroNA8.59609.052510.20049.4214
Pound sterling10.184113.904512.956611.523912.2655
Canadian dollar5.25655.86355.63246.83296.7125
Australian dollarNA5.57815.27746.49896.5359

The exchange rates mentioned above are average monthly rates from the month of January for each given year.

History of the Swedish krona

The use of silver currency during the medieval period was quite common in Sweden. In 1625, the country introduced the use of copper coins and switched its currency system to a bimetallic standard. In 1745, the link to the copper standard ended, at which point the country imposed an inconvertible paper standard and started issuing banknotes. Economic problems and inflation that followed saw depreciation of the currency, and in 1776 Sweden returned to the silver standard.

Riksdaler was the currency in use in the 17th century, 18th century and much of the 19th century. This system was fairly complex, and included multiple subunits. In 1855, Sweden converted to the decimal system, through which the country introduced the Risksdaler Riksmynt.

In 1873, the krona saw light of day when Sweden agreed to become part of the Scandinavian Monetary Union, along with Norway and Denmark. These countries fixed their currencies with gold, and were at par with each other. This union ceased to exist after the First World War, but Sweden stuck to using the krona.

Coins and banknotes of the Swedish krona

From 1873 to 1876, Sweden issued coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 öre, as well as 1 krona and 2, 10 and 20 kronor. The 1, 2 and 5 öre coins made use of bronze; the 10, 25, 50 öre and 1 krona and 2 kronor coins came in silver; and 10 and 20 kronor coins were made using gold. In 1881, gold 5 kronor coins entered circulation.

krona1krona2

Since then, there were several changes in kroner coins, which included the use of different materials like iron, nickel-bronze, coppernickel and aluminium-brass.

In December 2008, Riksbank decided to phase out the 50 öre coin, the last öre coin, by 2010, and it gave people the option to exchange their coins at banks until the end of March 2011. In September 2012, Riksbank announced that a new series of coins would enter the market by October 2016.

In 1874, Riksbank began circulating banknotes in denominations of 1 krona and 5, 10, 50, 100 and 1,000 kronor. Production of the 1 krona note stopped in two years, but it reappeared again between 1914 and 1920. Riksbank issued 10,000 kronor notes in 1939 and 1958. It discontinued the 5 kronor note in 1981, and introduced the 500 kronor note in 1985. In 1991, production of 10 kronor notes stopped, and circulation 20 kronor notes began. In 2006, a new 1,000 kronor note made it to the forefront.

tjugo_kronorfemtio_kronorett_hundra_kronor

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