What Is the XCD (Eastern Caribbean Dollar)?

XCD is the symbol for Eastern Caribbean dollar, which is the official currency shared by eight Caribbean island countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is subdivided into 100 cents and has existed since 1965, when it supplanted the British West Indies dollar. This makes it among the oldest currencies in the region still in use. As of August 2020, 1 XCD is equal to USD $0.37.

Key Takeaways

  • The Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD) is the official currency of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), replacing the British West Indies dollar in 1965.
  • As such, it is the currency used on the island states of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • Once pegged to the British pound and then U.S. dollar, the XCD has been a free floating currency since 1983.

Understanding the Eastern Caribbean Dollar

The Eastern Caribbean dollar now serves as official currency for the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), an economic and monetary union established in 1981 to harmonize economic and trade policies among the 10 islands encompassed by its members. Only eight of the participating countries use the XCD, however. Martinique remains affiliated with France and therefore uses the euro, while the British Virgin Islands use the U.S. dollar.

At its establishment, the Eastern Caribbean dollar replaced the British West Indies dollar at par. The Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority controlled the issuance of the Eastern Caribbean dollar and pegged its value at 4.8 XCD to 1 GBP. In 1976, the currency authority re-pegged the Eastern Caribbean dollar to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 2.7 XCD to 1 U.S. dollar. The Eastern Caribbean Bank, established in 1983, subsequently took over the issuance of the currency, leaving the U.S. dollar peg in place.

The Eastern Caribbean Bank’s mandate covers regulation of liquidity throughout its member states, as well as the promotion of economic and monetary stability through support of economic development and maintenance of a sound financial structure. The bank sees its dollar peg as a primary means to maintain price stability throughout the region and keep inflation in check.

Other Caribbean Currencies

Despite their small size and relative proximity to one another, many other Caribbean nations use their own currencies. Barbados, which at one time used the Eastern Caribbean dollar, switched to its own dollar in 1973, pegged with the U.S. dollar at a rate of 2 Barbadian dollars (BBD) to 1 U.S. dollar. The Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD), approximately the same age as the Eastern Caribbean dollar, began with a U.S. dollar peg and eventually moved to a floating rate in 1993. Likewise, Jamaican dollars (JMD), used on the island of Jamaica and issued by the Bank of Jamaica, float against other currencies. High inflation has led to a de facto phaseout of lower-denomination currencies in the country.

Despite the proliferation of various currencies throughout the region, most tourist destinations accept payment in major global currencies including the U.S. dollar (USD), British pound sterling (GBP) and the euro (EU).