What is 'Historical Currency Exchange Rates'

Historical exchange rates are exchange rates that are used to provide traders with a historical reference to where a currency pair has traded in the past. Historical currency rates are used by many forex traders to help shed light on the direction of a given currency pair as well as for governmental agencies and reports.

BREAKING DOWN 'Historical Currency Exchange Rates'

Historical exchange rate data is a valuable tool for those looking to convert their currencies. Whether for speculative reasons, as in the case of the retail forex day trader, or for the converter looking for physical delivery, as in the case of a person who is about to go on vacation, knowing what rate you are getting today compared to currency exchange rates of the past is a valuable planning tool for the future.

Where to find historical exchange rates

Many retail forex brokers provide this information for free, but others charge a nominal fee for this data. Be sure to do your own research before deciding where to get your historical currency exchange rate data. There are integrated software programs as well as cloud-based solutions that can compare historical currencies for you, with many applications from audits to financial analysis.

The U.S. Government also provides information on past historical exchange rates. For example, the Internal Revenues Service has a historical currency exchange rate charge of the past five years on their website with major currencies, such as the pound, euro, and peso, with the U.S. dollar.

The Bureau of the Fiscal Service, under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Treasury, also notes that they provide current and historical exchange rate information, although what they present is solely for information purposes only to those who seek it, as the Bureau does not provide advice or assistant with investment strategy. This information is provided under Section 613 of Public Law 87-195 dated September 4, 1961 (22 USC 2363 (b)), which enabled the Secretary of the Treasury with sole authority to establish the exchange rates for all foreign currencies or credits reported by all agencies of the government.

Making the historical foreign currency reports public help ensure that the currency reports published by agencies are aligned with the U.S. Treasury reports and the foreign currency units with the U.S. dollar equivalents. The transparency over historical currency rates through the Bureau reports also establishes the baseline for conversion for the next three months.

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