Bulgarian Lev

Name of Currency:  Bulgarian Lev

Country / countries used:  Bulgaria

Symbol:  лв

Brief history: 

In Old Bulgarian the word ‘lev’ literally translates to ‘lion’.

The lev is divided into 100 stotinki.  The most recent lev has been active from 1999, and was preceded by three other versions of the lev, each being pegged against different currencies.  The oldest lev was introduced in 1885.

When the most recent lev was implemented in 1999, 1 lev had the money exchange rate of 1 Deutsche Mark.  Since the Deutsche Mark has been replaced by the euro in 2002, the matching rate was transferred to the euro where now 1.95 leva is equal to one euro.  There has been speculation as to when the euro will replace the lev, and different dates have been presented and then subsequently denied.

The latest news with regards to the shift in currency states that the earliest possible date Bulgaria would be able to change currency would be in 2015, due to inflation problems within the country and a slow recovery after the global financial crisis of 2008.

With each lev being divided into 100 stotinki, there are stotinki coins available in the following denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.  As well as stotinki coins, there are 1 lev coins available. Lev banknotes are available in the following denominations: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100, although it is worth nothing that the 1 lev notes are very rarely used.

With a decline in the economy of Bulgaria in 2009 of 5.5%, the country was quick to respond and rectify this fall, producing a positive growth of 0.2% in 2010, and 1.7% in the following year.  The primary exports consist of footwear, iron and steel, clothing, fuels and machinery and equipment.  These commodities are exported primarily to Germany, Italy, Romania, Greece, Turkey and France.

Bulgarian citizens receive on average 754 leva a month, which translates to 386 euros – the lowest income rates in Europe.  Despite this statistic, Bulgaria has the lowest personal and corporate income tax rates in the European Union, and the second lowest public debt of any of the European Union members, standing at 16.2% as of 2010.

For more information on currencies of the world and foreign currency exchange, refer to Best Exchange Rates UK. In addition to information on different currencies, Best Exchange Rates UK has information on market data, private currency exchange and business currency exchange.