The Mexican peso is the official currency of Mexico, and just like the American dollar, the Mexican peso originates from the Spanish dollar that used to be the currency in the region. It is the 8th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded currency from the Americas, and the single most traded currency in Latin America.
The Mexican currency has been one of the most stable currencies in Latin America for most of the 20th century, except for during the 80s when the currency crashed. The reason for the crash was due to the hyperinflation that Mexico experienced. In 1993 the government of Mexico was forced to introduce a new currency, the new modern Mexican Peso.
One Mexican peso is divided into 100 centavos, however, the use of centavos in physical form is rare and will probably soon be completely abolished.
Because the Mexican peso originates from the Spanish dollar, it shares the same currency sign with all other dollar currencies ($). However, in international environments, it’s usually written as Mex$ in order not to get it confused with the American dollar. Centavos are abbreviated with a c, or with the sign ¢.
Peso means weight in Spanish and the currency got its name from when the coins were worth their own weight in either gold or silver – peso oro (gold) and peso plata (silver).
The official ISO-4217 code for the Mexican peso is MXN. Up until 1993, when the current currency was introduced, the code was MXP.
The Mexican Peso’s Denominations
Mexico has one of the highest numbers of commemorative denominations in circulation, including at least 7 different coins and a handful of banknotes. The most noticeable being the 100 peso bi-metallic gold coin that was released in 32 different versions representing one Mexican state each.
In total, there are 15 non-commemorative denominations, 9 coins, and 6 bills in circulation right now. Here is a list of all the coins and bills used in Mexico.
- 5c – is extremely rare due to its low value
- 10c – rarely used
- 20c – rarely used
- $20 – rarely used
- $1,000 – rarely used due to its relatively high value
All the Mexican coins have the state title and coat of arms on the obverse side and an image of the Sun Stone on the reverse side. The sun stone, also called the Aztec Calendar Stone, is an important part of Mexican heritage.
Mexican banknotes have been released in several different versions and series over the last 25 years. The latest complete series is called Series D, and it was first released in 1994 but got updated in 1996, 2004, and 2005. Since then there has also been an update called Series F, but it’s not a complete series. Series F was gradually launched between 2007 and 2010, and was mostly an update of the material used in the bills. Also, the 50 peso bill was updated in 2013. And in 2005 tactile patterns were added to most bills to facilitate people with seeing disabilities.
All the bills have famous Mexican people on the obverse side such as Benito Juárez, Nezahualcoyotl, and Ignacio Zaragoza. On the reverse side, Mexican landscapes and historical events are depicted, such as the Aztec God Xochipilli and the Puebla Cathedral.
History of The Mexican Peso
The first and original peso was printed by Spain in Mexico. This currency was also called Spanish real and Spanish dollar. The Spanish dollar was the official currency in the United States until the coinage act in 1857.
The first Mexican peso banknotes were produced in 1823 by Emperor Iturbide. After that, the production of bills in Mexico continued to be handled by private banks and smaller local authorities. This continued until the 1920s when the Mexican government officially took over the production.
Impressively enough, the first Mexican peso remained in use in pretty much the same shape, except for a few minor updates. In 1993, the Bank of Mexico was forced to revaluate the country’s currency.
The Spanish dollar (as it was called outside of Mexico) was also widely used in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and China, and it acted as a model to both the Japanese yen (JPY) and the Chinese yuan (CNY). The name of the Chinese currency is actually based on the shape of the Spanish dollar – yuan meaning round object in Chinese.
The Mexican Peso Today
Today the Mexican peso is issued and regulated by the Bank of Mexico and the minting is done by La Casa de Moneda de México – the oldest minting facility in both North and South America.
Today, the use of the Mexican peso is completely limited to the country except for a few establishments on the Mexican and American border, especially in California. Walmart is one of the biggest corporations in the United States that accepts peso, but only at certain locations.
Trade with the MXN
The MXN offers great trading and investment opportunities and is the 8th most traded currency in the world. In 2016, MXN represented 1.9% of the daily market share, just before the Singapore dollar (SGD) 1.8%, and the New Zealand dollar (NZD) 2.1%.
What’s even more impressive is that the MXN is the third most traded currency in the Americas just after the American dollar (USD) and the Canadian dollar (CAD). It is also the undisputed leader of the currencies in Latin American.
Without a doubt, the most popular currency to trade is MXN/USD, and in our opinion, there are two reasons for that. Firstly, the USD is the most traded currency in the world, and therefore it gets traded with every other world currency, usually in enormous amounts. The second reason is that that the United States and Mexico share a long border. The two countries have had a long and meaningful economic relationship with each other for many decades.