In modern times, currency has come to denote money. It has become the most important means of transactions. But in earlier times, coins made of gold and silver were the means of transactions. Because these were made from precious metals, the coins had a natural value. While the silver coins were used to purchase smaller goods, the larger goods were purchased with gold coins. Very soon banknotes came to replace coins as the medium of transactions. Though the banknotes by themselves did not have any natural value as the coins, it was the legal tender by virtue of government order.
Currency exchange is used to facilitate trade in good and services between countries that have different currencies. The trade in goods and services using various currencies become possible with exchange rates between any two currencies. The monetary authority that determines the production and distribution of the currencies as well as influences the value of the currency with reference to other currencies is usually the country’s Ministry of Finance or the central bank. For instance, in the United States it is the Federal Reserve System.
The name of the currency is the same in some countries. Countries such as United States, Malaysia, Canada, Zimbabwe, Singapore and Australia have named their currency as dollar. There are other similar currencies common to a number of countries such as Dinar, Franc, Escudo, Gulden, Frank, Krone, Lira, Mark, Livre, Pound, Peso, Rial, Real, Rupee, Ruble, Shilling and Scudo. Sometimes the same currency becomes the common currency used in a number of countries such in European Union where Euro is used as the common currency. A foreign currency is sometimes accepted as the legal tender as, for instance, the US Dollar in Panama and El Salvador. Trading in currencies takes place in the foreign exchange market, both for the purpose of international trade as well as for speculation. Forex trading is explained, amongst others, by a number of websites and books such as Forex Made EZ, Forex Trading Explained and Tax Lien Investing.
The exchange rate between two currencies is determined by the demand of each of these currencies. When the demand increases and supply is limited, the value of that currency rises. If the demand is less than available supply of the currency, the value of the currency falls.
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