Sterling (symbol: £; code: GBP) is the official currency of the United Kingdom and its 14 associated territories located across the globe. The main unit of the sterling is the pound and common nicknames for the currency are the British pound and pound sterling. The pound is made up of 100 pence and a single pence is called a penny.
Pound Sterling Currency
Currency Exchange Rates
While the UK was part of the European Union from 1973 to 2020, it remained one of the few EU member states to not adopt the euro as its national currency. The central bank for the sterling is The Bank of England.
Sterling is the oldest currency in the world that has been in continuous use since it was created in Anglo-Saxon England as early as 775 AD. It was adopted as the first national currency by the first King of England, Athelstan in the 8th century.
See GBP currency value history and live conversion rates from the US Dollar/USD to the Sterling/GBP.
Foreign Exchange Trade
The sterling/British pound/GBP is the fourth most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market. Only three currencies that are traded in foreign exchange (aka: FX, forex) more than the sterling, The United States Dollar (USD), The euro (EUR) and the Japanese Yen (JPY). These currencies, in combination with China’s Renminbi currency (CNY), calculate the current value of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) special drawing rights - an international credit reserve available to member countries of the IMF.
The sterling is bought and sold in foreign exchange markets around the world and, like all currencies active in foreign exchange, its value comparison to other currencies fluctuates. Many factors contribute to currency fluctuation and conversion rates, such as political climate, inflation, confidence, GDP, natural disasters, etc.
Value of the Sterling Currency
The GBP hit a 15-year high against the US dollar in 2007, with the British pound valued at double the US Dollar (£1 vs US$2) during an economic downturn in the United States. The sterling has remained a strong and stable currency, making it a preferred currency in the foreign exchange market.
As a result of the UK referendum (aka “Brexit”) in 2016, the sterling experienced a major declined in currency value against other currencies. Overnight, the sterling was weakened against the euro by 5% and months later, the sterling was 14% weaker than its strength before Brexit. During this time, the sterling also fell 16% against the US dollar.
In 2022, when the US dollar and the euro hit parity, the UK’s sterling remained stronger than both currencies.
Overall, while conversion rates are in constant flux the conversion rates from the USD to the GBP have remained within a relatively narrow range.