What Is the Libyan Dinar (LYD)?

LYD is the currency abbreviation for the Libyan dinar, the official currency of Libya, a country located in Northern Africa. The Libyan dinar is often called jni or jenh locally in Libya. The abbreviation LYD is often used for the Libyan dinar in the foreign exchange market, which is where currencies from different countries are bought, sold, and exchanged.

As of Aug. 2020, 1 LYD is equal to U.S. $0.73.

Key Takeaways

  • The Libyan dinar (LYD) is the official currency of Libya.
  • The LYD replaced the Libyan pound in 1971. The pound succeeded the French Ottoman piastre as official currency after it gained independence in 1951.
  • The Libyan economy is highly dependent on oil and petroleum exports, and the country has experienced a series of political upheavals and armed conflicts over the past decades.

Understanding the Libyan Dinar

The Libyan dinar is made up of 1,000 dirham and is often presented with the symbol "LD". The word dirham is never used in everyday language, but the word "garsh," which refers to 10 dirhams, is used instead.

Libya was a part of the Ottoman Empire; at that time, the Ottoman piastres were the currency used in the country. Libya was then colonized by Italy in 1911, which is when it adopted the Italian lira as its currency. Libya gained independence only in 1951, after which the country introduced its own currency, the Libyan pound. The LYD replaced the pound in 1971, after the country established a new central bank.

Many different currencies had been used in Libya before it gained independence: the Italian lira, the Algerian franc and the Egyptian pound were all used across the nation at different points in history. Indeed, Libya was part of the Ottoman Empire before becoming an Italian-controlled territory from 1911–1943, and it was under the auspices of Allied occupation forces following WWII, from 1943 until its independence in 1951.

In 1971, the Libyan dinar replaced the Libyan pound at par. The currency now is issued in denominations of bills for 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 dinars. It also includes coins for 50 and 100 dirhams as well as ¼ and ½ dinars.

Libya's Economy

Libya is a member of OPEC, an international cartel of oil producing nations, and it has an economy that is largely dependent on petroleum production. It began exporting oil in 1961 and oil and gas now account for about 82% of the country's export earnings and 60% of its total GDP.

However, in the last decade, the country's economy has been affected by political events in the region as well as the decline in global oil prices. In 2011, there were widespread protests and eventually a civil war in Libya. In 2014, another civil war broke out in Libya. The instability and violence that followed has had a significant impact on the country's economy.

According to estimates released in 2017, Libya lost $127 billion in revenues from oil between because of war, political instability, and blockades of oilfields in the country. In 2017, there was a boom in oil production in the country which helped spur GDP growth. However, the country still has not returned to its pre-war levels of oil revenue or production, which at its height reached 1.6 million barrels per day. For 2019, Libya's inflation rate was 4.56% and its GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.54%.