A currency basket is a collection of different currencies which together form a single investment unit. The individual exchange rates of the currencies making up a currency basket in relation to other currencies are not calculated separately. Instead, the combined performance of all currencies in the basket collectively makes up the performance of the currency basket.
Currency baskets may be used as a basis for performing or calculating trades with other currencies. They may also be used for purely analytical purposes such as tracking developments in the values of specific currencies.
How much is a currency worth? The value of a currency can be found in the rates at which it can be exchanged for other currencies. Exchange rates indicate the value of a currency in relation to other currencies in units. But exchange rates are a limited indicator because only two currencies can be compared. More than 160 official currencies are in use worldwide. Currency baskets provide a means of comparing the value of whole sets of currencies against either a single other currency or another currency basket.
It is interesting to consider how, over time, the Swiss franc developed to become one of the world’s most important currencies. Because Switzerland’s economy is heavily depending on foreign trade, the Swiss franc itself functions like a currency basket because its value is based on those of the currencies of Switzerland’s key trading partners. These include the euro (euro-zone countries), the U.S. dollar (the United States) and the Chinese yuan (China).
The impact of each currency making up a currency basket is typically weighted based on its economic significance. Inflation rates are also commonly accounted for.
Various economic institutes and banks maintain currency baskets which based on various formulae. These currency baskets may combine as many as two dozen different currencies.
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