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    The Swiss Franc

    The franc (ISO 4217: CHF or 756) is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Italian exclave Campione d'Italia and the German exclave Büsingen also use the Swiss franc. Franc banknotes are issued by the central bank of Switzerland, the Swiss National Bank, while coins are issued by the federal mint, Swissmint.

    The Swiss franc is the only version of the franc still issued in Europe. Its name in the languages of Switzerland is Franken (German), Franc (French and Rhaeto-Romanic), and Franco (Italian). The smaller denomination, which is worth a hundredth of a Franc, is called Rappen (Rp.) in German, centime (c.) in French, centesimo (ct.) in Italian and rap (rp.) in Rhaeto-Romanic. Users of the currency commonly write CHF (the ISO code), though SFr. is still common. SwF has been used in some publications but is not an official abbreviation.

    The current franc was introduced in 1850 at par 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.

    In 1865, France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland formed the Latin Monetary Union where they agreed to change their national currencies to a standard of 4.5 grams of silver or 0.290322 grams of gold. Even after the monetary union faded away in the 1920s and officially ended in 1927, the Swiss franc remained on that standard until 1967.

    As of November 30, 2006, the Swiss franc was worth US$ 0.826729 or € 0.628625. Since mid-2003, its exchange rate with the Euro has been stable at a value of about 1.55 CHF per Euro, so that the Swiss Franc has risen and fallen in tandem with the Euro against the U.S. dollar and other currencies.

    The Swiss franc has historically been considered a safe haven currency with virtually zero inflation and a legal requirement that a minimum 40% is backed by gold reserves. However this link to gold, which dates from the 1920s, was terminated on 1 May 2000 following an amendment to the Swiss Constitution. The Swiss franc has suffered devaluation only once, on 27 September 1936 during the Great Depression, when the currency was devalued by 30% following the devaluations of the British pound, U.S. dollar and French franc.