Cambodian riel

Cambodian riel

Infobox Currency
currency_name_in_local = Unicode|រៀល km icon
image_1 =
image_title_1 =
image_2 = 500-khmer-riel-coin.gif
image_title_2 = The front of a 500 riel coin.
iso_code = KHR
using_countries = KHM
inflation_rate = 4.7%
inflation_source_date = " [ The World Factbook] ", 2006 est.
subunit_ratio_1 = 1/10
subunit_name_1 = kak
subunit_ratio_2 = 1/100
subunit_name_2 = sen
symbol =
rarely_used_coins = 50, 100, 200, 500 riel
frequently_used_banknotes = 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000 riel
rarely_used_banknotes = 50, 20 000, 50 000, 100 000 riel
issuing_authority = National Bank of Cambodia
issuing_authority_website =

The riel (Khmer: Unicode|រៀល, Symbol Unicode|៛) is the currency of Cambodia. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975, and the second since April 1, 1980. In Cambodia, the U.S. dollar is also widely used. [cite web | author= Chinese University of Hong Kong | url= | title= Historical Exchange Rate Regime of Asian Countries: Cambodia | accessdate=2007-02-21] [cite web | author= Kurt Schuler | url = | title = Tables of Modern Monetary History: Asia | accessdate=2007-02-21 | quote = The US dollar also circulates freely] [cite web | author= frizz restaurant in Cambodia | url= | title= Cambodia Practical: money, ATM, transport, cheap flights | accessdate=2007-02-21] Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system. See History of Cambodia.

"For earlier Cambodian currencies, see Cambodian tical and Cambodian franc."

First riel, 1953-1975

In 1953, the Cambodia branch of the "Institut d'Emission des Etats du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam" issued notes dual denominated in piastre and riel. At the same time, the two other branches had similar arrangement with the đồng in South Vietnam and the kip in Laos. The riel was at first subdivided into 100 "centimes" (abbreviated to cent. on the coins) but this changed in 1959 to 100 "sen" (សេន). For the first few years, the riel and piastre circulated alongside each other. Indeed, the first riel banknotes were also denominated in piastres.


The 10, 20 and 50 centime of 1953 and sen coins were minted in aluminium and were the same size as the corresponding att and xu (su) coins of Laos and South Vietnam (though without the holes in the Lao coins). A 1 riel coin about the size of a U.S. nickel was to be issued in 1970 but was not released, perhaps due to the overthrow of the government of Norodom Sihanouk by Lon Nol.


Following the first issue of banknotes denominated in both riel and piastres (which closely matched those of Laos and South Vietnam), a truly independent riel was issued by the National Bank of Cambodia in 1955. Cambodia issued several series of notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 riel. Banknotes of 1000 and 5000 riel were printed but not issued for circulation. (The 5000 riel note has only recently come to light. [cite web | url=|title=Nachthun's World Paper Money] ) The designs included many themes of Cambodian life, history and mythology.

The Khmer Rouge, 1975-1980

Although the Khmer Rouge printed banknotes (denominations of 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 riel, dated 1975) these notes were not issued as money was abolished after the Khmer Rouge took control of the country.

econd riel, 1980-

After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, the riel was re-established as the Cambodian currency on April 1, 1980, initially at a value of 4 riel = 1 U.S. dollar. It is subdivided into 10 "kak" (កាក់) or 100 sen. Because there was no money for it to replace and a severely disrupted economy, the central government gave away the new money to the populace in order to encourage its use.

In rural areas the riel is used for virtually all purchases, large and small. However, the US dollar is also used, particularly in urban Cambodia and tourist areas. In Battambang and other areas near the Thai border, like Pailin, the Thai baht is also accepted.


The first coins were 5 sen pieces, minted in 1979 and made of aluminium. No more coins were minted until 1994, when denominations of 50, 100, 200, and 500 riel were introduced. However, these are no longer commonly found in circulation.


Banknotes were issued in 1980 in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 kak, 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 riel. In the 1990's they issued higher denomination notes as the Asian economy collapsed. The 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 were printed, however not all were issued. Later issues of banknotes from mid 1995 went up from 100 to 100,000 riel. However notes above 10,000 riel are less common.

The most recent series of banknotes, gradually introduced through 2001 and 2008, consists of 50 (2002), 100 (2001), 500 (2002, 2004), 1000 (2005, 2007), 2000 (2007), 5000 (2001, 2002, 2004), 10,000 (2001, 2005), 20,000 (2008) and 50,000 (2001) riels.

ee also

* Economy of Cambodia


*numis cite SCWC|date=1991
*numis cite SCWPM|date=1994

External links

Standard numismatics external links
world_coin_gallery_1_url = Cambodia
world_coin_gallery_1_name = Cambodia
banknote_world_1_url = cambodia
banknote_world_1_name = Cambodia
dollarization_1_url = asia
dollarization_1_name = Asia
gfd_1_url = Cambodia
gfd_1_name = Cambodia
gfd_data_1_url = 5587
gfd_data_1_name = Cambodia Riel
show_gfd_excel = Y

* [ Cambodian commercial banks showing legal tender banknotes]
* [ More coins with 1 real 1970]

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