Convertible currencies are defined as currencies that are readily bought, sold, and converted without the need for permission from a central bank or government entity. Most major currencies are fully convertible; that is, they can be traded freely without restriction and with no permission required. The easy convertibility of currency is a relatively recent development and is in part attributable to the growth of the international trading markets and the FOREX markets in particular. Indian Rupee is fully convertible in respect to current account of Balance of payment. Broadly, currencies can be classified into three major categories.
Fully convertible currency
The U.S. dollar is an example of a fully convertible currency. There are no restrictions or limitations on the amount of dollars that can be traded on the international market, and the U.S. Government does not artificially impose a fixed value or minimum value on the dollar in international trade. For this reason, dollars are one of the major currencies traded in the FOREX market.
Partially convertible currency
The Indian rupee is only partially convertible due to the Indian Central Bank’s control over international investments flowing in and out of the country. While most domestic trade transactions are handled without any special requirements, there are still significant restrictions on international investing and special approval is often required in order to convert rupees into other currencies. Due to India’s strong financial position in the international community, there is discussion of allowing the Indian rupee to float freely on the market, altering it from a partially convertible currency to a fully convertible one.
Almost all nations allow for some method of currency conversion; Cuba and North Korea are the exceptions. They neither participate in the international FOREX market nor allow conversion of their currencies by individuals or companies. As a result, these currencies are known as blocked currencies; the North Korean won and the Cuban national peso cannot be accurately valued against other currencies and are only used for domestic purposes and debts. Such nonconvertible currencies present a major obstruction to international trade for companies who reside in these countries.