What is the TTD (Trinidad and Tobago Dollar)

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) is the national currency for Trinidad and Tobago. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago dollar is made up of 100 cents and is often presented with the symbol TT$ to differentiate it from other currencies that also use denominations of dollars.

BREAKING DOWN TTD (Trinidad and Tobago Dollar)

Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD), first introduced in 1964, replaced the use of British West Indies dollar (BWI). Before this time, Trinidad and Tobago circulated the currency of the colonial ruling powers. The two island nation lay in the Caribbean and has a long history of colonial rule. Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Columbus and later came under British command. Its companion island, Tobago saw colonial rule by the Spanish, British, French, Dutch and the Duchy of Courland. Finally, in 1802, both islands came under British colonial rule. The two nations remained British colonies until their independence in 1962 and the formation of the Republic in 1976.

In 1873, a crisis in the availability of silver forced the demonetization of these previous coins as legal tender in favor of only the British currency. The 1898 issue of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) saw its use alongside Great Britain’s pound sterling (GBP) at an exchange rate of one TTD equaling 1 shillings and 2 pence. From 1935 to 1950, the Trinidad and Tobago dollar carried the same value as the British West Indies dollar, and in 1951 the British West Indies dollar (BWI) replaced the British coins.

They added coins in 1955 when the dollar decimalized. Trinidad and Tobago reintroduced its dollar in 1964, replacing the British West Indies dollar, while the successor to the British West Indies dollar is widely considered to be the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. In 1964 the Trinidad and Tobago withdrew from the British West Indies currency union and adopted the dollar in use today. The British Caribbean Currency Board oversaw the currency, which serviced British Guyana and the Eastern Caribbean territories of the British West Indies.

Valuation of the TTD

Unlike many other Caribbean countries’ currency, the Trinidad and Tobago dollar is not pegged and floats freely against other currencies. It has six banknotes currently in circulation: the $1, which is red, the green $5, the gray $10, purple $20, olive $50 and the 100 dollar which is blue. The Jamaican dollar issued by the Bank of Jamaica, like that of  Trinidad and Tobago, operates under a floating exchange rate regime.

The small island nation had one of the highest gross domestic product (GDP) in the Americas based mainly on industries such as petroleum and petrochemicals. However, in recent years the Republic has experienced slow to negative growth in their gross domestic product (GDP). According to World Bank data, Trinidad and Tobago is a high-income economy.  However, it still struggles to keep a positive growth in GDP, which as of 2017 is running at a negative 2.3%. Economists believe this downturn is due to recent changes in the price of oil and oil byproducts. The island republic experiences a 3.0% annual inflation rate for that same timeframe.

Tethering the TTD to Other Caribbean Currencies

The Trinidad and Tobago dollar’s (TTD) history follows the history of the British Eastern Caribbean territories overall. It was in 1949, with the introduction of the British West Indies dollar, that the currency of Trinidad and Tobago became officially tethered to that of the British Eastern Caribbean territories. Notes of the British Caribbean Territories Eastern Group, the British West Indies dollar, replaced Trinidad and Tobago's banknotes in 1951. One of the Caribbean's oldest currencies, the Eastern Caribbean dollar operates under a fixed exchange rate regime, and since July 7, 1976, has been pegged to the United States dollar. The eight member countries of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States all use the ECD as their official currency. Those countries include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.