The New Taiwan dollar (currency code TWD and common abbreviation NT$), or simply Taiwan dollar, is the official currency of the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China (ROC) since 1949, when it replaced the Old Taiwan dollar. Originally issued by the Bank of Taiwan, it has been issued by the Central Bank of the Republic of China since 2000.
The Chinese term for "New Taiwan Dollar" typically is only used for banking and in legal contracts where it is necessary to avoid any possible ambiguity, or when talking about foreign exchange or other currencies.
In common usage, the dollar unit is typically referred to as yuan. In Taiwan, the character for yuan can be written in either of two forms, an informal or a formal, both of which are interchangeable. Mandarin speakers also use kuai and is an abbreviation for kuai qian, which literally means "piece of money". In the context of discussing prices,(qian; money) can be omitted. In general, yuan is more commonly used when writing and kuai is more commonly used when speaking.
In English usage the New Taiwan Dollar is often abbreviated as NT, NT$, NT Dollar or NTD, while the abbreviation TWD is typically used in the context of foreign exchange rates. Subdivisions of a New Taiwan Dollar are rarely used, since practically all products on the consumer market are being sold at whole dollars.
The New Taiwan dollar was first issued by the Bank of Taiwan on June 15, 1949, to replace the Old Taiwan dollar at a 40,000-to-1 ratio. The first goal of the New Taiwan dollar was to end the hyperinflation that had plagued Taiwan and Mainland China due to the civil war. A few months later, the ROC government under the Kuomintang (KMT) was defeated by the Chinese communists and retreated to Taiwan.
Even though the Taiwan dollar was the de facto currency of Taiwan, for years the old Chinese Nationalist yuan was still the official national currency of the Republic of China. The Chinese Nationalist yuan was also known as the fiat currency or the silver yuan, even though it was decoupled from the value of silver during World War II. Many older statutes in ROC law have fines and fees denominated in this currency.
According to the Regulation of exchange rate between New Taiwan Dollars and the fiat currency in the ROC laws, the exchange rate is fixed at 3 TWD per 1 silver yuan and has never been changed despite decades of inflation. Despite the silver yuan being the primary legal tender currency, it was impossible to buy, sell, or use it, so it effectively did not exist to the public.
In July 2000, the New Taiwan dollar became the official currency of the ROC and is no longer secondary to the silver yuan. At the same time, the Central Bank of China (now known as the Central Bank of the Republic of China) began issuing New Taiwan dollar banknotes directly and the old notes issued by the Bank of Taiwan were taken out of circulation.
In the history of the currency, the exchange rate as compared to the United States dollar (USD) has varied from less than 10 TWD per USD in the mid-1950s to more than 40 TWD per 1 USD in the 1960s and about 25 TWD per 1 USD around 1992. The exchange rate as of June 21 2010 sits around 31.8 TWD per 1 USD.
Coins are minted by the Central Mint of China, while notes are printed by the China Engraving and Printing Works. Both are run by the Central Bank of the Republic of China. The NT$½ coin is rare because of its low value, while the NT$20 coin is rare because of the government's lack of willingness to promote it.
Note that the $200 and $2000 banknotes are not commonly used. The exact reason is yet unknown. One plausible explanation is that these two denominations are new and it takes time for the people to get used to. Another likely cause is the lack of promotion from the government. For the $2000 banknotes, it might be that the level of consumption has not reached high enough levels to justify carrying banknotes of such value, especially since transactions of larger amounts are widely made through debit or credit cards.
It is relatively easy for the government to disseminate these denominations through various government bodies that do official business with the citizens, such as the post office, the tax authority, or state owned banks. There is also a conspiracy theory against the Democratic Progressive Party, the ruling party at the time the two denominations were issued. The conspiracy states that putting Chiang Kai-shek on a rarely used banknote would "practically" remove him from the currency, while "nominally" including him on the currency would not upset supporters on the other side of the political spectrum that much (the Pan-Blue Coalition).
The year 2000 version $500 and 1999 version $1000 notes without holographic strip were officially taken out of circulation on August 1, 2007. They were redeemable at commercial banks until September 30, 2007. As of October 1, 2007, only the Bank of Taiwan accepts such notes.
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