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Hungarian forint

Hungarian forint

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Hungarian forint
magyar forint (Hungarian)
Image:HUF 2000 1998 obverse.jpg Image:Ungheria 100 forint.JPG
2000 forint
100 forint
ISO 4217 Code HUF
User(s) Hungary
Inflation 3.5%
Source Hungarian National Bank, August 2006
1/100 fillér
Symbol Ft
Plural forint
Coins 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 Ft
Banknotes 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000 Ft
Central bank Hungarian National Bank
Printer Hungarian Banknote Printing Corp.
Mint Hungarian Mint Ltd.
"HUF" redirects here. For the airport, see Terre Haute International Airport.

The forint (currency code HUF) is the official currency of Hungary. It is divided into 100 fillér, although fillér coins have not been in circulation since 1999.


[edit] History

The forint's name comes from the city of Florence, where golden money was minted from 1252 under the name fiorino d'oro. In Hungary, florentinus (later forint), also a gold-based currency, was used from 1325 under Charles Robert and several other countries followed its example.

Between 1857 and 1892, the forint was the name used in Hungarian for the currency of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, known in German as the Austro-Hungarian gulden or Austrian florin. It was subdivided into 100 krajczár (krajcár in modern Hungarian).

The forint was reintroduced on 1 August 1946, after the 1945-1946 hyperinflation of the pengő. The process was managed by the Hungarian communist party, which held the relevant ministry seats and the forint's success was exploited for political gains, contributing to the 1948-49 communist take-over of state powers, thanks to organized en masse' election fraud called 'blue slip elections' after the ballot's color. The forint replaced the pengő at the rate of 1 forint = 4×1029 pengő. In fact, this was an imaginary exchange rate, since the whole amount of Pengő in circulation had a value of less than one forint at this rate.

Historically the forint was made up of 100 fillér, but fillér have been rendered useless by inflation and have not been in circulation since 1999. The Hungarian abbreviation for forint is Ft, which is written after the number with a space between. The name fillér, the subdivision of almost all Hungarian currencies, comes from the German word Heller. The abbreviation for the fillér is f, written also after the number with a space in between. However, since the demise of the fillér, this abbreviation is now seldom used.

After its 1946 introduction, the forint remained stable for several years, but started to lose its purchasing power as the state-socialist economic system lost its competitiveness during the 1970's and 1980's. After the democratic change of 1989-90, the forint saw yearly inflation figures of app. 35% for three years, but significant market economy reforms helped stabilize it. Since year 2000 the relatively high value of forint (especially compared to the falling US dollar and to some extent to the euro) handicaps the strongly export-oriented Hungarian industry against foreign competitors with lower valued currencies.

As part of Hungary's integration into the European Union and its euro currency, the forint is slated to disappear circa 2010-2012, depending on the economic situation. As of autumn 2005, there is a strong disagreement between the Hungarian National Bank and the government whether EU-mandated low inflation figures and reduced foreign debt aims can be fulfilled by 2010. The situation threatens to make Hungary the last one among the ten new EU members to adopt the euro currency.

[edit] Coins

All forint coins. Far left is the old 100 forint coin, (no longer used).

In 1992, a new series of forint coins was introduced with denominations ranging from 1 Ft to 200 Ft [1]. From 1996, a bicolour 100 Ft coin was minted to replace the 1992 version, since the latter one was considered to be too big, too ugly, and could be easily mistaken with the 20 Ft coin. The 200 Ft coin was made of 500 ‰ fine silver. From 1994, mass minting of the 200 Ft coin was stopped, since the price of the metal was getting higher than the face value of the coin. However, small issues for collector purposes were minted until 1998, when both the 1992 type 100 Ft and the 200 Ft coins were withdrawn from circulation.

[edit] Banknotes

The recent series of forint banknotes with improved security features[2] was introduced from 1997 onwards. Each banknote depicts a famous Hungarian leader or politician on the obverse and a place related to him on the reverse. All of the banknotes are watermarked, contain an embedded vertical security strip of thin metal and suitable for the visually impaired people. As of April 2006 the 1000 forint note has added a copper holographic security strip. The 2000 forint and higher denominations are also protected by an interwoven silver-coloured holographic security strip, whilst the updated 1000 forint note contains a red copper coloured holographic strip. The notes share the common size of 154 x 70 mm. The banknotes are printed by the Hungarian Banknote Printing Corp. in Budapest on the paper manufactured by the Diósgyőr Papermill in Miskolc.

Forgery of forint is not significant, but sometimes colour photo-copiers are abused by teenagers to produce low quality fake money for shopping and gambling purposes. For foreign visitors to Hungary, the main danger lies in exchanging their forint to international currencies. Fake dollars and euro banknotes are commonly disseminated by illegal street money exchangers. For your own safety, do not attempt to exchange currency from touts. Legal currency exchange is only available in licenced booths, which always operate under the consortium of some commercial bank and always provide a receipt of the transaction. Clients may be requested to produce a valid photographic ID when exchanging currency. It must be noted that foreign coins are seldom exchanged, and when they are, the exchange is normally done at a rate lower than the spot rate. To avoid hassle with currency exchange, an alternative is to use internationally known and accepted credit cards for payments in Hungary.

[edit] History of coins and notes

Image:HUF 100 1992 obverse.jpg
A 100 forint note from 1992 (no longer in circulation).

In 1946, the new forint series was introduced, and older banknotes with the previous coat of arms were used. These were in circulation until 1999. The denominations of the old coins were 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 fillér, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 forint. These coins were larger than the current ones of the same denomination. The existing notes were 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 forints, although 10 and 20 forint notes have become rare in the later years. The 1000 forint note was introduced in 1983, the 5000 forint note in 1991. All of the old series notes have been de-monetised, and as of december 2006 only denominations higher than 500 forints can be exchanged at the offices of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank. This also means that the most numerous forint note of all time, the 100 forint note can no longer be exchanged.

The current generation of coins and notes were introduced between 1997 and 2001. The first note of this series was the 10.000 forint note, released on July 1, 1997 These include the new coat of arms with the crown. The smallest denomination was 1 forint, and because at the time this was actually worth something, the old 50 fillér coins were not de-monetised until 1998, and although they had no legal tender status, they were used right up until 2000. The banknotes are all the same size, and have modern security features unlike the old ones. All current notes were designed by Károly Vagyóczky, a well-known banknote designer of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank. Since their issue, some of the notes have been slightly modified for greater security (the 500, 1000 are the most prominent examples, the latter having been updated twice already). In 2001 the last note of the series, the 20000 forint note was introduced. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank has declared that it is not planning to introduce any further notes, due to the planned introduction of the euro. Some coins have been replaced, such as the 100 forint coin, which is now a bi-metallic coin, whilst others have been removed from circulation, such as the silver-alloy 200 forint coin.

[edit] Historical exchange rates

Exchange rates (1 XXX = ? HUF)
1 January, 2006252.65367.55213.22
1 January, 2005244.66346.95180.755
1 January, 2004261.83371.59206.83
1 January, 2003235.74361.88225.09
1 January, 2002244.75395.45271.88
1 January, 2001264.58417.70279.62
1 January, 2000254.47407.22248.82
1 January, 1998-335.98205.18
1 January, 1995-173.30110.75
1 January, 1993-126.9984.41
1 January, 1990-100.2362.54
Current HUF exchange rates

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

[edit] Further reading

  • Gyula Rádóczy, Géza Tasnádi (1992). Magyar papírpénzek 1848-1992 (Hungarian paper money 1848-1992). Danubius Kódex Kiadói Kft. ISBN 9637434119.
  • Károly Leányfalusi, Ádám Nagy (1998). Magyarország fém- és papírpénzei 1926-1998 (Coins and paper money of Hungary 1926-1998). Magyar Éremgyűjtők Egyesülete, Budapest. ISBN 963036060233.
  • Mihály Kupa id. dr. (1993). Corpus notarum pecuniariarum Hungariae I-II. (Magyar Egyetemes Pénzjegytár) (General Hungarian Banknote Catalog). Informatika Történeti Múzeum Alapítvány, Budapest. ISBN 9630436582.

Preceded by:
Hungarian pengő
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 forint = 4×1029 pengő
Currency of Hungary
1 August 1946
Concurrent with: adópengő until 30 September 1946
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Hungarian adópengő
Reason: inflation
Ratio: 1 forint = 2×108 adópengő

Historical currencies of Hungary Image:Flag of Hungary.svg
Currency Forint
Coins coins coins coins - coins
Paper money paper money paper money paper money paper money
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cv:Форинт cs:Maďarský forint de:Forint es:Florín húngaro eo:Hungara forinto fr:Forint hongrois hr:Mađarska forinta it:Fiorino ungherese he:פורינט hu:Forint nl:Forint ja:フォリント no:Forint pl:Forint pt:Florim húngaro ro:Forint ungar ru:Форинт sk:Forint sl:Madžarski forint sv:Forint tg:Форинти Маҷористон zh:福林

Hungarian forint

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