Riel Banknotes Swap to Celebrate 44 years of Riel re-introducing 

The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) continues to implement monetary policy and measures to make Cambodia's de-dollarization process effective in order to increase the use of the riel, which will benefit Cambodia’s economy. Photo: Ou Sokmean

PHNOM PENH – From March 20 to 29, the public will be able to swap old and damaged riel banknotes for new ones without commission, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) announced. This is to celebrate the 44th anniversary​ of re-introducing the riel currency on March 20, 1980, after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

The NBC has partnered with banking and financial institutions across the country to organize the “Love Riel” campaign where NBC and financial institutions in all provinces exchange old, torn and damaged banknotes for new ones, free of charge.

While the campaign has been in place for almost 10 years, people could only swap old and damaged riel banknotes at NBC’s branches. But this year, they will be able to change them at the nearest bank or financial institution.

The measure applies only to riel bank notes and not to US dollars.

NBC said the campaign is an effort to promote the use of riel currency in Cambodia to offset the excessive flow of dollars since the early 1990s when the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) operated in the country. NBC at that time was not prepared to cope with the economy being flooded by US dollars.

Riel currency traffic has increased by an average of 14 percent each year in the last decade, according to a report by the NBC. This shows that the demand for the riel has grown in the economy and among the public, though dollarization remains high.

Using riels allows the National Bank to stimulate the economy through exports, currency values, and exchange rate adjustments, and manage the national budget by issuing riel securities.

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