What Is the Mexican Peso (MXN)?

The peso has been the official currency of Mexico since the country gained its independence in 1821. MXN is its abbreviation on currency exchanges.

The Mexican peso is the 8th most traded currency in the world and the most traded currency in Latin America, according to the website CurrencyHistory.

The peso is issued and managed by Mexico's central bank, Banco de Mexico or Banxico.

Understanding the Mexican Peso

The peso is not pegged to the U.S. dollar, meaning it's a free-floating currency with its own exchange rate.

Key Takeaways

  • The peso was relatively stable until the Mexican government borrowed too much money, culminating in a default on its international debts in 1982.
  • A series of economic reforms in the 1990s has led to a slow return to stability.
  • Those reforms included a revaluation of the Mexico peso that changed 1,000 old pesos into 1 "new peso" or MXN.

The use of the peso dates back to the Spanish occupation of Mexico, making it one of the oldest currencies in the Americas. Although it has been the nation's official currency since it gained independence in 1821, the peso has been through various reiterations and reevaluations over the years.

The peso was a relatively stable form of currency until the 1970s when Mexico began taking on too much debt. This caused an economic crisis that culminated in 1982 when Mexico defaulted on its international loans. The downward economic spiral that resulted did not begin to abate until the 1990s when the government implemented a series of economic reforms.

The government also revalued the peso, changing 1,000 pesos into 1 MXN according to CurrencyInformation.org. The currency formerly abbreviated as MXP became MXN for "new Mexican peso."

The Mexican peso is issued in banknotes with denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 pesos. It issues coins in amounts starting at half a peso.

For the five-year period ending in late April 2019, the Mexican peso has risen in value fairly steadily against the U.S. dollar, moving from 13.01 pesos to one dollar on May 2, 2014, to 18.77 pesos to a dollar on April 26, 2019. For example, if you were converting 1,000 U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos at an exchange rate of 18.77, you would receive 18,948.55 Mexican pesos.