The currency of the Republic of Yemen is the Yemen rial. The ISO currency code is YER and the official abbreviation is Rl.
The name of the Yemen rial is derived from the Spanish word “rey” for king and is based on the Spanish real, which has been valid for several centuries.
History of the Yemeni currency
Even before the unification of Yemen there was Yemen in the northern kingdom and from 1962 also in the Yem. Arab Republic originally exclusively used the North Yemeni rial.
Whereas in South Yemen, the South Arab Protectorate and later in the People’s Republic of Yemen, the currency unit of the South Yemeni dinar with the ISO code YDD was valid.
Initially, the North Yemen rial was divided into 40 buqsha, corresponding to 80 halalas or 160 zalats.
It was not until April 1, 1975 that 1 rial was divided into the 100 fils that are still valid today.
With the unification of Yemen in 1990, the Yemen rial was officially adopted as the common currency. The ISO currency code YER remained unchanged.
At the same time, the dinar was the official currency in southern Yemen alongside the rial until 1996.
The rial is called “Riyal Yamani” in the local language. There are 50, 100, 200 and 500 banknotes in circulation, as well as 1,000 Yemeni rials.
The coins are the 1 and 5 as well as the 10 and 20 Yemen rial coins. Due to their low value, however, they are rarely used in everyday payment transactions.
A high inflation rate of almost 18% favors an ever stronger devaluation of the Yemen rial.
In 2009 the national debt was around 40% of the gross domestic product. The political instability of Yemen and the economic orientation shaped by agriculture continue to make the country vulnerable to crises.
More than half of the Yemeni population works in the agricultural sector and only generates a quarter of the gross domestic product. As a result, the Yemen rial steadily declined in value.
Exchange into Yemeni currency
An exchange is recommended in Yemen as there is usually a better rate there. The rate is usually best when you withdraw your credit card from an international bank’s ATM.
An exchange in exchange offices is usually more expensive and care should be taken not to receive counterfeit money.
An exchange within your home country, on the other hand, is relatively expensive and many banks have to order the currency first, so an exchange should be applied for in good time before traveling to Yemen.