What Is the Tugrik (MNT)?

The term tugrik (MNT) refers to the official currency of Mongolia. The tugrik has been in use as the national currency since 1925 and officially replaced other, existing foreign currencies to become Mongolia's sole legal currency. It is abbreviated as MNT and is represented by the symbol ₮. The tugrik comes in banknotes ranging from ₮1 to ₮20,000. Coins are denominated between ₮20 to ₮500. The currency is maintained by the country's central bank, The Bank of Mongolia.

Key Takeaways

  • The tugrik is the official national currency of Mongolia.
  • It has been in use since 1925 when it replaced other currencies in the country.
  • The tugrik is abbreviated as MNT in the currency market and is represented by the symbol ₮.
  • The Bank of Mongolia, the country's central bank, maintains the tugrik.
  • Banknotes range in denominations from ₮1 to ₮20,000 while coins are valued between ₮20 to ₮500.

Understanding the Tugrik (MNT)

The basis for Mongolia's financial system was laid in 1924, the same year that the country's central bank was formed. Originally called the Mongolian Trade and Industrial Bank, it was renamed the Bank of Mongolia in 1954. The bank is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the stability of the country's only official currency, the tugrik.

The first banknotes went into circulation in December 1925, replacing the Mongolian dollar three years later. That's when it became the country's official currency. As mentioned above, the currency is abbreviated as MNT on the foreign exchange market and is represented by the symbol ₮. The MNT isn't pegged to any currency and no other currency is pegged to it.

The tugrik, which is also known as the tögrög and the tughrik, can be found in the following denominations: ₮1, ₮3, ₮5, ₮10, ₮20, ₮50, ₮100, ₮500, ₮1,000, ₮5,000, ₮10,000, and ₮20,000, although bills under ₮10 are no longer printed. Coins that are commonly in use in Mongolia come in values of ₮20, ₮50, ₮100, ₮200, and ₮500.

Special Considerations

The most common and popular exchange currency for the MNT is the U.S. dollar (USD). As of June 11, 2021, the exchange rate was one MNT to $0.000350195. A single USD purchased about ₮2,856.

Travelers are only allowed to import and export a maximum of ₮815 into and out of the country. The country's major banks are able to exchange currency without difficulty and can provide cash advances when needed.

Individuals can use U.S. dollars along with credit and debit cards at major retailers, hotels, and automated teller machines (ATMs) where travel and tourism are common—notably in Ulaanbaatar, the nation's capital. But it's always a good idea for people to carry local currency when traveling anywhere in Mongolia.

Mongolia has an economy that is heavily reliant on agriculture and herding.

History of the Tugrik (MNT)

The federal government enacted a currency reform act on Feb. 22, 1925, giving the central bank the sole authority to issue the tugrik. Along with naming the currency, the act also set parameters on how the currency would be backed—a 25% minimum by precious metals and 75% by "goods with high liquidity."

The tugrik was previously subdivided into mongos or möngös. One mongo was the equivalent of 1/100 of a tugrik. But because of its low value, the mongo was removed from circulation. The currency was originally printed and minted in the Soviet Union but is now produced in the United Kingdom.