I need annual, historic exchange rates of currencies worldwide. The PA.NUS.FCRF seems to be a great data set for that: it's open, spans almost all countries worldwide, and for many countries it dates back to 1960. But the data is not given in, for example, CHF to US Dollar, but in local currency unit (LCU) to US Dollar. My problem is I fail in finding out which currency the LCU corresponds to.

I'd expect that information to exist in the metadata. Unfortunately it does not seem to be systematically. For some countries, some information is available in the Metadata Country table; for other countries (mostly European) some information can be found in the Country-Series table; for most countries though, there is no information available.

How do I know which currencies the LCUs in the PA.NUS.FCRF dataset correspond to?

1 Answer 1


On the page you have linked to, click "Details", then click "All metadata".

Then create a report of this kind: http://databank.worldbank.org/data/LCU-in-2017/id/f7f1ba3.

  • 1
    Thanks, indeed I hadn't seen this before. But unfortunately it is only of some help: this list seems to list the currencies currently in use, not the currencies reported in the database. Example: (1) Belgium -> EUR; that's correct today, but that's clearly not reported. (2) Zimbabwe -> US Dollar; maybe that's correct today, but certainly that's not reported. Otherwise the exchange rate would need to be 1, which it is not. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 10:18
  • Yes, this is a problem. One should expect that changing the year will change the LCU for some countries, but unfortunately... Well, the page you have linked to says that primary sources of the data are International Monetary Fund and International Financial Statistics. Perhaps they have this information. Or Wikidata... Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 10:27
  • Yeah, I checked IMF, and also Wikipedia. Couldn't find the information on the former, and I am now taking some general information from Wikipedia. But that means I need to guess the currency. Example Zimbabwe: there are many currencies in use. I guess the dataset reports Zimbabwean dollar, but I would need to verify manually whether that's true. Again, that's what I do, but I'd rather not do it manually. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 13:09

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