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Romania's currency is the "leu" (plural "lei") (it means "lion" in Romanian). It is the descendant of a Dutch currency that was used in this area in the 17th century.
1 leu = 100 bani (plural; singular: "ban").
Given the trend of falling inflation, the national bank of Romania(BNR) decided to revalue the leu as of July 1st 2005. A new leu (RON = acronym for ROmanian New) equals 10000 old lei (ROL).
The old lei can still be used until the end of 2006. The differences in design between the old and new lei are very small. The banknotes have the same colour (e.g.: the 10000 old lei bill is just as green as the new 1 leu bill) but the new bills are smaller than the old bills. Only the coins show significant differences but you should be fine as long as you keep the conversion rate between old and new lei's in mind (10000 old = 1 new).
Due to the high interest rates for lei deposits during the past couple of years and the improving economic landscape in the country, the RON was one of the strongest performing currencies against both the Euro and the USD during the past couple of years. From an exchange rate of 4 RON to an EUR and 3.4 RON to a USD in the summer of 2004, nowadays (summer 2006) 1 RON = ~3.55 EUR and 1 RON = ~2.80 USD.
BNR has a table showing the exchange rates between the RON and the major currencies for the past 5 days here. But, if you want to find out the official exchange rate between the RON and the two major currencies on a daily basis, right after it has been set, then you should visit the Vanguard site (investment company) and look at the bottom of the right sided column for them, right after 12:00 local time (that is 13:00 Central European Time), from Monday to Friday.
Romania plans to adopt the Euro at a future date, many years after EU accession. The planned date for Euro adoption is somewhere between 2011 and 2012 but the latest developments in the country suggest that a 2014 deadline is much more realistic.
Here are a couple of photos of the Romanian currency provided by the Romanian National Bank website.
- 1 leu: front and back
- 5 lei: front and back
- 10 lei: front and back
- 50 lei: front and back
- 100 lei: front and back
- 500 lei: front and back