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Weakest and least valuable currencies in the world for 2024

Forex /
Milan Cutkovic

Did you know that there are countries in which you could become a millionaire in local currency by just exchanging a few dollars? In this article, we will explore the weakest currencies in the world, often referred to as the worst or cheapest currencies, and the factors that have been driving the value of these currencies into the ground.

There are multiple reasons why a currency can suffer devaluation. Some of the main factors are soaring inflation, lack of economic diversification and foreign investment, political instability, wars, and sanctions.

While some countries let their currency float freely on the market, others try to limit devaluation by enforcing a fixed exchange rate. However, as we will see in some of the examples below, this can also lead to the creation of a black market where the local currency is significantly cheaper than the official rate.


Top 10 weakest currencies in the world

(valued against the USD)



Value of

Value in USD*

1 Lebanese pound 1 LBP 0.0000108
2 Iranian rial 1 IRR 0.0000239
3 Vietnamese dong 1 VND 0.0000393
4 Sierra Leonean leones 1 SLE 0.0000442
5 Laotian kip 1 LAK 0.0000465
6 Indonesian rupiah 1 IDR 0.0000616
7 Syrian pound 1 SYP 0.0000769
8 Uzbekistani sum 1 UZS 0.0000789
9 Guinean franc 1 GNF 0.0001163
10 Paraguayan guarani 1 PYG 0.0001350

* Updated in real time.


Top 10 lowest-valued currencies in the world

(valued against the INR)



Value of

Value in INR**

1 Lebanese pound 1 LBP 0.0009084
2 Iranian rial 1 IRR 0.0019913
3 Vietnamese dong 1 VND 0.0032772
4 Sierra Leonean leones 1 SLE 0.0036911
5 Laotian kip 1 LAK 0.0038850
6 Indonesian rupiah 1 IDR 0.0051407
7 Syrian pound 1 SYP 0.0064089
8 Uzbekistani sum 1 UZS 0.0065793
9 Guinean franc 1 GNF 0.0096949
10 Paraguayan guarani 1 PYG 0.0112733

** Updated in real time.


Top 10 worst currencies list

  1. Lebanese pound (LBP)
  2. Iranian rial (IRR)
  3. Vietnamese dong (VND)
  4. Sierra Leonean leones (SLE)
  5. Laotian kip (LAK)
  6. Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
  7. Syrian pound (SYP)
  8. Uzbekistani sum (UZS)
  9. Guinean franc (GNF)
  10. Paraguayan guarani (PYG)


1. Lebanese pound (LBP)

(weakest currency in the world)

The Lebanese pound - sometimes also called the Lebanese lira - is the official currency of Lebanon. In the 20th century, it was pegged to multiple currencies - initially the French franc, followed by the British pound, and finally the US dollar. In 1964, Lebanon pegged the pound to the US dollar at a rate of 1 USD = 3.9 LBP, which remained in place until the start of the Lebanese civil war in 1975.

The Lebanese pound has officially become the world’s weakest currency after the government allowed the official and unofficial exchange rates to align in early 2024. For a long time, the Lebanese Central Bank (BDL) maintained a fixed rate of 1,507.5 LBP per USD, but it was eventually forced to abandon this due to the worsening economic crisis and shortage of foreign reserves.

Lebanon has been plagued by an economic crisis for many years, as well as significant issues in the banking sector and a lack of foreign currency reserves. The country is also affected by political instability in the region. Trust in the currency has been eroded, which led to a flight of capital from the country.


2. Iranian rial (IRR)

The Iranian rial made its first appearance in the 19th century when Iran was still known as Persia. In 1932, the new "Iranian rial" was launched and was pegged to the British pound. However, in 1979, the Islamic Revolution led to the end of the Pahlavi monarchy and brought significant changes to Iran and its economy.

The Iranian rial has ranked as one of the world’s weakest currencies for many years. This is due to Iran being subject to strict economic sanctions by the United States and its allies for a long period of time, which has put the local economy under significant pressure and capped its potential.

The Iranian rial has also been suffering from constant geopolitical tensions, reliance on oil exports, and lack of trust due to skyrocketing inflation.

The government has maintained an official rate of the Iranian rial against the US dollar, but the exchange rate on the black market differs significantly.


3. Vietnamese dong (VND)

Vietnam was split into North and South Vietnam in 1954, and both countries created their own currency - the dong. After the Vietnam War ended, the dong became the unified currency of Vietnam. The currency was struggling in the early period due to frequent occurrences of high inflation, currency devaluations, and economic reforms. Vietnam’s economy started to stabilise in the 2000s, and so has the value of the dong.

Vietnam is operating a managed floating regime - meaning its currency is not fixed against the US dollar but is only allowed to fluctuate within a certain range permitted by the central bank.

Despite Vietnam’s economic growth, its currency has remained weak due to being strictly controlled and having limited convertibility. At the same time, the weak currency plays into Vietnam’s favor as the country is running a trade surplus, giving it a competitive advantage.


4. Sierra Leonean leones (SLE)

Sierra Leone introduced its currency - the leone - in 1964 after it declared its independence. The leone replaced the British pound, although it initially remained pegged to it. Throughout the years, the leone started to lose value and experienced significant fluctuations.

Sierra Leone suffered from a civil war from 1991 to 2002, which had devastating effects on the country, and the recovery since the conflict has been slow. The country is still suffering from underinvestment, political instability, and high unemployment.

Sierra Leone’s high dependency on commodity exports makes the currency vulnerable to fluctuations in the commodity market.


5. Laotian kip (LAK)

The kip was introduced as the official currency of Laos in 1952, three years after the country gained independence from France. It was initially pegged to the French franc. After a long period of stability, the kip started to become more volatile in the 1990s as Laos went through multiple economic reforms and transitioned to a market-oriented economy.

Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s least developed economies, and it has not enjoyed the same levels of economic growth as some of its neighbours.

This is due to the country being heavily reliant on agriculture and the export of natural resources. Laos has so far attracted limited foreign investment, and its industrial and service sectors have been lacking growth.

The Laotian kip has come under intense pressure post-COVID amid soaring inflation and an ongoing economic crisis.


6. Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands in 1945 and introduced the rupiah as its currency shortly after. In the beginning, it was pegged to the Dutch East Indies gulden. The rupiah went through several turbulences in the 20th century - ranging from high inflation to economic stability, and political turmoil. Most notably, the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997/98 greatly affected Indonesia’s economy and its currency.

Despite being the world’s fourth most populous country and having experienced significant economic growth in the past two decades, Indonesia’s currency is still weak.

The country still depends heavily on the export of commodities, which makes the currency vulnerable to the price of these commodities. Indonesia’s central bank is also forced to intervene in the market from time to time, and limited foreign currency reserves can limit their ability to do so.

Being an emerging economy also leaves its currency vulnerable to global market sentiment, with the rupiah coming under pressure during times when investors are rushing into safe havens.


7. Syrian pound (SYP)

The Syrian pound was introduced in 1919 and was pegged to the French franc. In 1924, the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban (BSL) was established and issued the Syro-Lebanese pound, which remained Syria’s official currency until 1939, when the Syrian and Lebanese pound became two separate currencies again.

Syria has been suffering from a civil war since 2011, and since then, armed conflicts have been ongoing. The country has experienced hyperinflation and economic damage, and as a result, trust in the local financial system has been eroded.

Syria has been subject to economic sanctions which added pressure to the local economy and restricted access to foreign currency. Its central bank has been forced to adjust the pound’s official exchange rate as the black market flourished, with exchange rates varying from city to city.


8. Uzbekistani sum (UZS)

Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. After Uzbekistan declared its independence, it introduced the sum as its official currency. The country had to replace the old sum with a new sum in 1994, following a period of hyperinflation. The currency became more stable following a series of market reforms but has been in a steady downtrend amidst ongoing economic challenges.

Uzbekistan’s economic growth has been improving after a series of reforms in the mid-2010s. Despite that, the country’s economy remains very reliant on the export of natural resources, inflation remains high, and there is little economic diversification.

The sum is subject to strict controls by the government and a lack of foreign investment in the country has weighed on the currency.


9. Guinean franc (GNF)

The Guinean franc was introduced in 1959 after Guinea declared its independence from France, and it replaced the French franc.

Guinea has been plagued by ongoing political instability and an economic crisis, which has brought the franc under significant pressure. Guinea’s economy is undiversified and heavily relies on the export of natural resources. The country has a weak infrastructure and foreign investment remains very limited.


10. Paraguayan guarani (PYG)

The guarani has a long history, going back to 1845 when the Paraguayan government launched its own currency. During history, Paraguay has experienced several crises and periods of hyperinflation that weighed on the value of the guarani, including the Chaco War in 1932-1935 and the debt crisis in the 1980s.

Paraguay’s economy is reliant on the export of agricultural products. This dependency leaves its currency vulnerable to fluctuations in the commodity markets. The country has been running a trade deficit for a prolonged period of time, which is increasing demand for foreign currency and weakening the demand for the guarani.

Paraguay’s main obstacle remains its dependency on the agricultural sector and exports, as well as its rising debt levels.


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Data is sourced from third party providers. This information is not to be construed as a recommendation; or an offer to buy or sell; or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, financial product, or instrument; or to participate in any trading strategy. It has been prepared without taking your objectives, financial situation and needs into account. Any references to past performance and forecasts are not reliable indicators of future results. Axi makes no representation and assumes no liability with regard to the accuracy and completeness of the content in this publication. Readers should seek their own advice.


What is the world's weakest currency?

The title of the world’s weakest currency currently belongs to the Lebanese pound, after the central bank agreed to align the official rate with the unofficial one in early 2024.

Why are some currencies extremely weak?

Rampant inflation, political instability, wars, economic sanctions, lack of foreign investment, high trade deficit, and lack of economic diversification are some of the main reasons.

What is a black market for currencies?

Black markets typically emerge when the trust in the local currency and the exchange rate set by the government is diminished. The local currency is traded at different rates than set by the government, and those can vary significantly at times.

Hyperinflation occurs when the prices of goods and services in an economy are experiencing an extreme increase. The purchasing power of the local currency diminishes, and it often leads to a loss of confidence in the currency and economic instability.

What is an example of hyperinflation?

In recent history, the most extreme example of hyperinflation can be seen in Zimbabwe. The inflation rate reached 89.7 sextillion percent (89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000%) and its central bank had to issue a banknote with a denomination of 100 trillion. Eventually, Zimbabwe was forced to abandon its currency and replace it with the US dollar.

Milan Cutkovic

Milan Cutkovic

Milan Cutkovic has over eight years of experience in trading and market analysis across forex, indices, commodities, and stocks. He was one of the first traders accepted into the Axi Select programme which identifies highly talented traders and assists them with professional development.

As well as being a trader, Milan writes daily analysis for the Axi community, using his extensive knowledge of financial markets to provide unique insights and commentary. He is passionate about helping others become more successful in their trading and shares his skills by contributing to comprehensive trading eBooks and regularly publishing educational articles on the Axi blog, His work is frequently quoted in leading international newspapers and media portals.

Milan is frequently quoted and mentioned in many financial publications, including Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, Barrons, CNN, Reuters, New York Post, and MarketWatch.

Find him on: LinkedIn

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