What is the BZD (Belize Dollar)

BZD is the currency abbreviation for the Belize dollar, which is the currency for Belize. It is often presented with the symbol BZ$. The abbreviation BZD is often used in the foreign exchange market, which is where currencies from different countries are bought, sold and exchanged.

Denominations of the BZD include banknotes and coins. The Belize dollar comes in bills of $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The coins for this currency include 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, as well as BZ$ 1 coins.

Breaking Down BZD (Belize Dollar)

The Belize dollar was officially recognized as the currency for Belize on January 1, 1974, when it replaced the British Honduras dollar. Belize, which was a British colony and part of British Honduras, was renamed Belize six months prior on June 1, 1973.

The Spanish and British disputed ownership of the region, and Belize, then known as British Honduras, officially became a British colony in 1862. The country gained independence in 1981. The Spanish dollar was the currency in circulation in Belize between 1765 and 1825. After this, the British sterling monetary system was used in Belize, as was the case in some other countries in the region including Jamaica and Bermuda.

Belize’s currency was initially pegged to the British pound, but in 1931, when Britain abandoned the gold standard, Belize’s currency became pegged to the U.S. dollar. Since 1978, the Belize dollar has been pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of BZ$2 to $1 USD.

The Central Bank of Belize, which was established in 1982,  manages the nation's foreign reserves and issues its currency. Belize’s inflation rate is about 1.8%, as of 2017 estimates.

The Economy of Belize

Belize, a country in Central America, has an economy that is highly reliant on agriculture, and its exports include sugar, bananas, citrus and crude oil. Logging and timber exports, particularly mahogany, were a mainstay of Belize’s economy for decades. The country has since diversified its economy, with tourism and the service sector also contributing significantly to Belize’s GDP.  Today, agriculture makes up about 10 percent of Belize’s GDP.

The country’s GDP was growing at an annual rate of about 4 percent from 2007 to 2016 because of expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, but growth has slowed in recent years to an annual rate of about two percent. Belize continues to struggle with a high unemployment rate of about 10 percent and it continues to struggle with a growing trade deficit and large foreign debts.