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Tugrik MNT What It is How It Works History

Tugrik (MNT): What It is, How It Works, History

Rajeev Dhir is an experienced journalist with a background in broadcast, print, and digital newsrooms.

What Is the Tugrik (MNT)?

The tugrik (MNT) is the official currency of Mongolia and has been in use since 1925.

Key Takeaways

  • The tugrik (MNT) is the official currency of Mongolia and replaced all other currencies in 1925.
  • The Bank of Mongolia maintains the tugrik, represented by ₮.
  • Banknotes range from ₮1 to ₮20,000, while coins are valued from ₮20 to ₮500.
  • The most popular exchange currency for the MNT is the U.S. dollar (USD).

Understanding Tugrik (MNT)

Tugrik is Mongolia’s legal currency, abbreviated as MNT and represented by ₮. It is found in various denominations: ₮1, ₮3, ₮5, ₮10, ₮20, ₮50, ₮100, ₮500, ₮1,000, ₮5,000, ₮10,000, and ₮20,000 (bills under ₮10 are no longer printed). Coins commonly used are ₮20, ₮50, ₮100, ₮200, and ₮500. The currency is maintained by the Bank of Mongolia.

Mongolia’s financial system was established in 1924, the same year the central bank was formed and initially named the Mongolian Trade and Industrial Bank. It was renamed the Bank of Mongolia in 1954 and is responsible for maintaining the stability of the tugrik.

The first banknotes went into circulation in December 1925, and the tugrik completely replaced the Mongolian dollar three years later. The MNT is not pegged to any currency, nor is any other currency pegged to it.

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Travelers are allowed to import and export a maximum of ₮815. Major banks can exchange currency and provide cash advances when needed. When traveling in Mongolia, it is advised to carry local currency.

History of the Tugrik (MNT)

The Mongolian government established the tugrik as the official currency on Feb. 22, 1925. The central bank was given the sole authority to issue the tugrik and set parameters on its backing—25% minimum by precious metals and 75% by "goods with high liquidity."

The tugrik was previously subdivided into mongos or möngös, but the mongo was removed from circulation. The currency is produced in the United Kingdom and was originally printed and minted in the former Soviet Union.

Mongolia’s economy relies mainly on agriculture, herding, and mineral resources. In 2020, the Mongolian economy contracted by 5.3% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most extreme contraction since the early 1990s. However, since 1991, the country has tripled its per capita GDP.

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