Get the best exchange rate between US dollars and Ethiopian birr
To get the best exchange rate between the US dollar and the Ethiopian birr, look for an exchange rate that’s closest to the mid-market rate of the currency. When sending money to Ethiopia, online money transfer services are often a better choice than traditional banks because of lower fees and faster transaction times — some services even offer cash pick-up in Ethiopia.
For travelers to Ethiopia, bring US dollars in cash with you and exchange them to Ethiopian birr once in the country at major banks in the capital.
ATMs are not common in Ethiopia and in most cases where you can find them, it’s reported that only Visa cards are accepted.
The US dollar is the most traded currency in the world. The world’s unofficial reserve currency, it can be found in most major currency pairs. In forex, it’s an important benchmark and target rate for countries that fix or peg their currencies against its value. It is also used as the standard currency for oil, precious metals and other commodities.
$1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c
The Ethiopian birr is the second most used currency in Africa, behind the Nigerian naira. The birr is a volatile currency that has been devalued steadily since 1992 as the country’s ruling party stumbles to make good on overall modernization and government reforms.
1, 5, 10, 50, 100 birr
1, 5, 10, 25, 50 santim; 1 Birr
What affects exchange rates between the US dollar and the Ethiopian birr?
Since the exchange rate between the US dollar and Ethiopian birr is managed by the National Bank of Ethiopia, it’s not subject to supply and demand in the market like other currencies.
The National Bank has repeatedly devalued the birr against the US dollar to increase the competitiveness of the local export industry.
In Ethiopia, there’s a very active black market where exchanges between dollars and birrs take place every day. Whenever the difference between the official exchange rate and the black market exchange rate becomes too big, the National Bank may choose to intervene to reduce the gap between the two rates.
Send money from USD to ETB
How does the Ethiopian birr trade against the US dollar historically?
Before 1993, the exchange rate of the Ethiopian birr was pegged to the US dollar at a value of 5,000 birr to 1 dollar.
In 1993, the old peg policy was scrapped and a system of “managed” exchange rates was introduced instead, effectively letting the birr depreciate in gradual steps against the US dollar. Since the old peg was lifted, the birr has been in a steady decline compared to the US dollar.
Between 1996 and 2000, the birr went from about 6.4 birr to 1 dollar, to 8.3 birr to 1 dollar.
Between 2008 and 2017, the birr continued to decline against the US dollar. At the beginning of 2008, you’d need about 9 birr to buy 1 dollar. At the end of 2017, after a number of government-initiated devaluations, you’d need about 27 birr for 1 dollar.
Did you know?
Despite this depreciation in value compared to the US dollar, the Ethiopian birr has actually been ranked as one of the more stable currencies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Large foreign exchange reserves combined with sound monetary policies in Ethiopia has contributed to make the birr a better currency to hold than many other African currencies.
US Dollar to the Ethiopian Birr for the last 10 days
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US Dollar to the Ethiopian Birr for the last 10 months
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US Dollar to the Ethiopian Birr for the last 10 years
Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.
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