Currency value and a nation’s economy are highly interconnected. A weak currency can have far-reaching consequences for a country’s economy, while a weak economy puts pressure on the currency’s value.
This FXOpen article explores the 10 weakest currencies in Asia and the factors that contribute to their poor performance. It discusses the economic bases on which these weak currencies rely and the challenges the Asian countries with the cheapest currencies face.
10 Worst-Performing Currencies in Asia
The article presents a list of the 10 worst-performing currencies in Asia based on their exchange rates against the US dollar. The Asia currency ranking is sorted from the strongest to the weakest, so you’ll find the cheapest currency at the end of the article.
The rates are effective as of the 2nd of November, 2023.
10. Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
Exchange rate: 1 MYR = 0.2096 USD
Malaysia’s economy is heavily dependent on the export of natural resources, including palm oil, rubber, and petroleum. However, fluctuations in global commodity prices have a huge impact on the performance of the Malaysian ringgit. This Southeast Asia currency appeared in this list due to a combination of factors, including political uncertainty and the post-covid crisis in Asia.
9. Chinese Yuan (CNY)
Exchange rate: 1 CNY = 0.1366 USD
The Chinese yuan has risen as a global currency since the beginning of the 21st century. China, as the world’s manufacturing hub, relies on exports for its economic growth. The performance of the yuan is influenced by global trade relationships and governmental policies, making it susceptible to external factors. The country’s exchange rate policy is mainly driven by the aim of enhancing the nation’s export competitiveness, but other factors, such as the desire to maintain macroeconomic stability within the country, also play a role.
8. Turkish Lira (TRY)
Exchange rate: 1 TRY = 0.0352 USD
The Turkish lira is one of the worst-performing currencies in the region due to high inflation rates and a large current account deficit. Turkey’s currency problems are often attributed to political instability. Frequent changes in economic policy undermine investor confidence, leading to a sharp depreciation of the lira. Turkey’s borrowing has resulted in a significant amount of foreign-currency debt, which makes the country vulnerable to fluctuations in global economic conditions.
7. Thai Baht (THB)
Exchange rate: 1 THB = 0.0283 USD
Thailand’s economy is characterised by its free-market orientation and relatively developed infrastructure, with exports of electronics, agricultural commodities, and automobiles. Economic potential is undermined by economic challenges, such as the need to strengthen investor confidence, advance institutional reform, and address political instability. The depreciation of the baht is driven by capital outflows. However, the prime minister of Thailand has stated that the weak baht is not entirely bad for the economy and could help the key export and tourism sectors.
6. Japanese Yen (JPY)
Exchange rate: 1 JPY = 0.0066 USD
The performance of Japan’s currency is explained by a mature and stable economy. The JPY is considered one of the world’s most stable currencies but a relatively cheap one. The Japanese yen has been under pressure due to the country’s ageing population and slow economic growth. The strength of this currency is not beneficial for the government, as it can discourage exports and contribute to prolonged deflation, making it difficult for the yen to perform well in the foreign exchange market.
5. Pakistani Rupee (PKR)
Exchange rate: 1 PKR = 0.0035 USD
Agriculture is a vital sector of the Pakistani economy, and the country is a major producer of crops. This makes the economy vulnerable to weather conditions, which are out of human control. The economic struggles of Pakistan are also linked to other factors, such as fiscal deficits and political instability. These issues result in a weak rupee, which negatively impacts the country’s trade balance. The central bank stabilises the currency with high interest rates and seeks assistance from the IMF.
4. South Korean Won (KRW)
Exchange rate: 1 KRW = 0.0007 USD
South Korea’s economy relies heavily on exports, particularly in the technology and automotive sectors. The country is notable for its rapid economic development from an underdeveloped nation to a developed, high-income country in a few generations. However, trade tensions and currency manipulation accusations keep the won relatively weak. This Asia currency rate is also influenced by global economic conditions, such as the slowdown caused by the pandemic.
3. Uzbekistani Som (UZS)
Exchange rate: 1 UZS = 0.00008 USD
Uzbekistan used to be associated with a Soviet-style economy, but in recent years, the country has seen improvements aimed at transforming it into a modern market-based system. It is now based on agriculture, minerals and mining, and energy resources, especially natural gas. However, limited economic diversification, coupled with a closed-off market, hinder the som’s performance. Although Uzbekistan has made respectable achievements in economic policy reforms, inflation remains a concern.
2. Syrian Pound (SYP)
Exchange rate: 1 SYP = 0.00007 USD
Although the civil war in Syria appears to have settled into a frozen state, the conflict in the country remains ongoing and has resulted in significant violence, displacement, and humanitarian suffering. The Syrian pound has been hit hard by economic sanctions and political turmoil. The currency’s value has plummeted amid these dire circumstances — the conflict-related hyperinflation is one of the highest in the world. The Syrian government is taking measures to address the economic crisis.
1. Lebanese Pound (LBP)
Exchange rate: 1 LBP = 0.00006 USD
The worst-performing currency in Asia is the Lebanese pound. Lebanon’s currency crisis, which has been ongoing since 2019, is one of the most severe in the world. A combination of political corruption, mismanagement, and mounting debt has led to the dramatic depreciation of the LBP. The government has imposed strict exchange controls, limiting the amount of foreign currency and making it difficult to import goods. In addition, the country’s dependence on oil imports makes it vulnerable to fluctuations in world oil prices.
The currencies on this list are some of the weakest in Asia, and they face a range of challenges that make it difficult for them to perform well. The reasons for the low Asian exchange rates include political instability, high inflation, low foreign investment, and ongoing political conflicts. Countries experiencing currency woes often struggle with the effectiveness of their currency regulations as well.
Traders usually prefer to trade stronger currencies; however, some of the weakest ones may also be attractive for traders, for example, the Japanese yen. You can open an FXOpen account to delve into trading in over 600 markets and use the modern TickTrader trading platform with advanced analytics tools and charts.
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