What Is the CFP Franc (XPF)?

XPF (CFP franc) is the ISO currency code for the official currency of four French overseas island collectivities, including French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis, and Futuna. One CPF Franc is subdivided into 100 centimes.

The XPF is pegged to the euro. As of July 2021, $1 USD is equal to roughly 101 XPF.

Key Takeaways

  • The CFP Franc (XPF) is the official currency of French Polynesia and its neighboring French protectorates.
  • CFP stands for Central Pacific franc, also known as the “franc Pacifique” due to its use in the Pacific Ocean region.
  • Currently, the CFP franc is pegged to the euro at a rate of 1 EUR = 120.19 XPF.

Understanding the CFP Franc

CFP stands for Central Pacific Franc, also known as the “franc Pacifique” due to its use in the Pacific Ocean region. The currency symbol for XPF is F and bills are denominated in 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 increments, while coins are minted in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 increments.

Paris-based Institut d'émission d'Outre-Mer, headquartered in Paris, issues the XPF. Initially, the CFP franc had a fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar (USD), which played a significant role in the economies of the French Pacific territories’ after World War II. In 1949, the CFP franc changed to have a fixed exchange rate with the French franc (F). When France transitioned to the euro, so too did the XPF peg. Currently, the CFP franc is pegged to the euro, with the 10,000 F, the highest denominated CFP note, equal to 83.8 euros.

The CFP franc is a 72-year-old currency, one of two currencies that France introduced after the Second World War. The post-war issue was meant to combat the weakness of the French franc. The other money issued at this time is the West African CFA franc. The Central Bank of West African States located in Dakar, Senegal, now regulates the West African CFA franc, as well as the West African Economic and Monetary Union, which includes Benin, Burkina Fasso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sénégal, and Togo currently use the currency. 

History and Background of the CFP Franc

After the economic turmoil of the Second World War, France, and other nations ratified the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1945. The Agreement forced the devaluation of many currencies, including the French franc. The document also stipulated the pegging of the French franc to the U.S. dollar. To spare the French colonies from the impact of the massive devaluation, France created two new independent currencies, the West African CFA and the Polynesian CFP Franc. 

At first, there were three distinct forms of the currency for French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and the New Hebrides respectively, with Wallis and Futuna using the New Caledonian franc. Now all banknotes are identical, with one side exhibiting landscapes or historical figures of French Polynesia and the other side displaying landscapes or historical figures of New Caledonia.

There are still two sets of coins, however. From New Caledonia to French Polynesia, one side of the coins remains the same, while the reverse side will vary, appearing with either the name Nouvelle-Calédonie (New Caledonia, Wallis, and Futuna), or the name Polynésie Française (French Polynesia).

Similar to how the euro coins function, with one side that exhibits a national theme but is legal tender in all eurozone countries, the CFP coins can be used in all countries that are part of the eurozone, as well as all of the French territories.