The CHF – Swiss Franc
The franc (ISO 4217: CHF or 756) is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is also used by the Italian exclave Campione d'Italia and the German exclave Büsingen. Franc banknotes are issued by the the Swiss National Bank and the Central Bank of Switzerland, while coins are issued by the Swissmint, also known as the federal mint.
The Swiss franc is the only franc still issued in Europe. The name of the Frank in the languages of Switzerland is the Franken in German, Franc in French & Rhaeto-Romanic, and Franco in Italian. The smallest denomination is worth a hundredth of a Franc and is referred to as the Rappen (Rp.) in German, centime (c.) in French, centesimo (ct.) in Italian and rap (rp.) in Rhaeto-Romanic. Users of the currency usually write CHF, which is the ISO code, though SFr. is also common. SwF has been used in some publications but is not an official abbreviation.
The franc was introduced in 1850 along with the French franc. It replaced the different currencies of the Swiss cantons, some of which had been using a franc (divided into 10 Batzen and 100 Rappen) which was worth 1½ French francs.
The Latin Monetary Union was formed by France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland in 1865. These countries agreed to change their own currencies to a standard of 4.5 grams of silver or 0.290322 grams of gold. After the Monetary Union faded away in the 1920s, then officially ended in 1927, the Swiss franc continued with that standard up until 1967.
As of November 30, 2006, the Swiss franc was worth US$0.826729 or € 0.628625. Since around the middle of 2003, the Swiss Franc exchange rate with the Euro has remained stable at a value of about 1.55 CHF per Euro, so that the Swiss Franc has increased and decreased in tandem with the Euro against the U.S. dollar and other currencies.
Historically, the Swiss franc has been thought of as a safe haven currency with almost zero inflation which has been helped by a legal requirement that no less than 40% is backed by gold reserves. However this connection to gold, which dates as far back as the 1920s, concluded on 1 May 2000 after an amendment to the Swiss Constitution. Since then the Swiss franc has suffered devaluation only once, on 27 September 1936 during the Great Depression. At this time the currency was devalued by 30% after the devaluations of the British pound, U.S. dollar and the French franc.