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Finding current and historical exchange rates

Research guide

Updated: 22 Nov 2022 Update History

In our research guide to exchange rates, we set out a range of sources for current and historical exchange rates. Some of these sources are freely available online, whilst others are available only in print or via subscription.

This guide lists general sources for exchange rates. There are separate guides covering specialist sources for:

How the Library can help

The ICAEW Library has compiled this guide to help everyone to find the exchange rates they need.

The Library enquiry team can also help ICAEW members, ACA students and other authorised users with requests for exchange rates from a variety of print and online sources, many of which you can find listed on this page.

In addition, the Library can provide figures from a reference collection of datasets gathered over the years from various publications. The datasets include: Thomas Cook buy/sell rates for 26 March 1982 and 8 April 1982; month end rates from mixed sources for 1989-2016; and averages for the year for 1994-2005. 

If you would like to know more about the information we can offer, please call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, email library@icaew.com or contact us through webchat.

Making sure you have the right exchange rate

When choosing a source of exchange rates you should bear in mind what you want to use the rates for and the type of rate you need. To ensure that you obtain the right exchange rate, consider these questions:

  • What kind of exchange rate do you want? Historical or current? Daily, weekly, or monthly? Average or closing rate?
  • It it important that the rate is from a particular market, such as London or New York? Most online sources are based on the US dollar and will be quoting data from the US markets.
  • Do you need an 'official' rate, such as one approved by HMRC or the US SEC?

These questions are important because the answers may affect the source you choose. When selecting a source, it is important to check where a given source gets its information. Where possible we have indicated the source of the information and its type, but you should always check the origin of rates quoted in a particular source. Note that many commercial sources of exchange rates information source their data from a range of sources, details of which may not always be disclosed.

Most web sources for historical rates only give figures for the working week. If you are looking for an end of month rate and enter the last day of a month in a given year, it may show up as unavailable if that day fell on a weekend.

Things to look out for

Many currencies have been revalued, devalued or rebased over the years – in some cases, on more than one occasion. One of the most well-known examples was the devaluation of UK pound sterling by 14% in November 1967.

There have also been cases in which countries have operated two currencies simultaneously. For example, Cuba used the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) and Cuban Peso (CUP) from 1994 until these currencies were unified in 2021.

Some countries have also operated a dual or multiple foreign-exchange rate system, where some types of imported goods have been subject to a more preferential rate than the regular exchange rate.

Free online sources

Financial Times

The Financial Times offers an online currency converter tool, based on data provided by Refinitiv. Basic data on current and recent rates are available to all; access to more detailed charting features is limited to subscribers.

The Companies & Markets section of the Financial Times gives tables of exchange rates for world currencies against the Pound, Dollar, Euro and Yen. These tables are available only in print, or via subscription – see below for further details.


Xe.com's Currency Converter tool provides current rates for more than 170 currencies, and is updated every 60 seconds based on information from global markets. Information on the origins and nature of the data provided by this tool can be found in the Xe.com Help Centre.

The site also provides access to historical data – its Currency Tables tool provides rates going back to November 1995.

In addition, Xe.com offers a daily currency newsletter, tailored to a nominated primary and secondary currency.

The rates provided by Xe.com's free currency tools are 'mid-market rates', not transactional rates.


Oanda is a commercial website providing foreign exchange and information services for over 200 currencies.

Oanda's Currency Converter tool can give you the current day's rate for a wide range of currencies.

The site also offers historical exchange rates data via its Historical Currency Converter tool, which allows you to display the exchange rate (daily average) for up to 10 currencies at a time. The data range generally begins in 1990, though the start point varies by currency. Up to 180 days of historical exchange rates are available free of charge; you will need a subscription in order to see older data.

The exchange rates provided by Oanda's Currency Converter and other tools are averages (calculated based on all data collected by Oanda over a given 24-hour period), rather than being market closing prices. Oanda's daily averages are uploaded at 00:00 UTC each day (including weekends and holidays), and represent the previous 24-hour period aligned to UTC-midnight.

Oanda draws data from various sources, including its own OANDA fxTrade currency trading platform, market data vendors, and contributing financial institutions.


DailyFX's Charts tool allows for the creation of graphs showing changes in exchange rates over a specified time period. In some cases data goes back several decades, but the start date varies considerably between currencies and sources. Users can switch between various data sources, and compare data on several currencies at once.

Google Finance

Google Finance provides current and historical exchange rates data through its Currencies section. It allows users to view graphical comparisons of different exchange rates over set time periods. Those with Google accounts can also 'follow' particular currency pairs.

In some cases, data is available going back to October 1982, but coverage varies by currency.

The currency prices given by Google Finance are provided by Morningstar. Further information about the origins and nature of the data provided on the site can be found on its disclaimer page.

Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance has a currencies centre, which displays recent exchange rates data for a number of currencies. It also offers a Currency Converter tool.

The exchange rates given by Yahoo are based on data provided by ICE Data Services. Further information about the origins and nature of the data provided on the site can be found in its help section.

PACIFIC Exchange Rate Service

The Pacific Exchange Rate Service offers an extensive range of current and historical exchange rate data. The service is provided by Professor Werner Antweiler of the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, and is primarily for the academic community. Detail as to the origins and nature of the data given on the site is set out on its FAQs page, and at the foot of some other pages.

The site's Database Retrieval System allows you to select a base currency, a target currency, time span, volume or price notation and a frequency of figures within that (daily, weekly or monthly). The rates start in 1971, but complete data sets are not available for every currency. Data can be downloaded in a variety of formats.

The site also publishes reference charts detailing historic annual average exchange rates for 24 currencies against the US dollar, Canadian dollar, pound sterling, and Euro:

The data given in these charts is sourced from the IMF.

Bank of England

The Bank publishes exchange rates through their Statistical Interactive Database. The site provides daily, monthly, quarterly and annual tables, with data going back to January 1963 (though coverage varies by currency). Data can be downloaded in various formats.

International Financial Statistics

International Financial Statistics is a database (formerly a print periodical) from the International Monetary Fund in Washington, which is updated monthly. It covers around 200 countries and areas, with data available back to 1948 for many IMF member countries (though temporal coverage varies by country). The data provided is based on various IMF data collections.

The database includes monthly, quarterly, and annual exchange rates – both end-of-period and period averages – for all IMF member countries, plus Anguilla, Aruba, Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Montserrat, and the former Netherlands Antilles. These include Special Drawing Right (SDR) exchange rates. It also provides data on real effective exchange rates.

Exchange rates and real effective exchange rates data may be viewed in tables (by country), or via the IMF Data query tool. The IMF website provides instructions on how to use the query tool. In addition, monthly datasets going back to August 2017 are available via the 'Archive' page, which also contains links to various explanatory notes.

As well as this online availability, the ICAEW Library & Information Service holds print copies of the January and July editions from 2007 until 2012 (plus a copy of the edition for December 2012).

Financial Statistics (ONS)

Financial Statistics (now discontinued) was a monthly publication from the Office for National Statistics. Chapter 7 covers exchange rates, and provides:

  • Sterling exchange rate index against a basket of 24 major world currencies (Table 7.1A), with month-by-month data for the past 4 years, and yearly averages for the past five years
  • End month rates and forward margins against sterling for 7 major currencies including the Canadian dollar, US dollar and Japanese Yen (Table 7.1B)
  • Interest rate differentials and exchange rates (Table 7.1C)

Issues published between June 2006 and July 2011 are available in PDF format via the National Archives website. The Bank of England is the source for all the tables listed above.

This title was also published in print — see below.

Print and subscription sources

Financial Times

The Companies & Markets section of the Financial Times gives tables of exchange rates for world currencies against the Pound, Dollar, Euro and Yen. The rates are derived from WM Reuters Spot Rates and Morningstar data.

The tables for the last five years are available in digital format via the FT Data Archive (subscription required). In addition, the ICAEW Library aims to keep the last 6 months' worth of market data pages from the FT, and the Guildhall Library holds the FT in various formats back to 1888. Some other public libraries also hold copies of the FT, with varying temporal coverage.

As mentioned above, the FT also provides an online currency converter tool, which offers additional charting features for subscribers.

Simon's Taxes

Simon's Taxes (formerly Simon's Direct Tax Service) maintained a table of foreign exchange rates, as published annually by the Inland Revenue for general use in converting foreign currency to sterling. The table provided averages for the year to 31st March and 31st December. The table was located in Binder 10 Part F3.1, and began in 1981-82.

In the online version of Simon's Taxes, Part F3.1 no longer lists exchange rates; rather, it simply provides a link to a page on the HMRC website which contains recent yearly average and spot foreign exchange rates. Parts T9.101 and T9.102 do, however, reproduce average and spot rates issued by HMRC, going back two years.

The ICAEW Library subscribes to Simon's Taxes through the LexisNexis online platform.

Financial Statistics (ONS)

As noted above, exchange rates data were published in Chapter 7 of the ONS's monthly Financial Statistics publication (now discontinued).

The ICAEW Library holds print copies of the January issues of Financial Statistics from 1995 until 2012.

In addition, the Guildhall Library holds print copies of this publication from 1962 to 2018.

Capital Gains Tax Service

Older editions of the FT/ICE Capital Gains Tax Service list a number of exchange rates for the UK and the Republic of Ireland. These include:

  • Foreign exchange rates on 31st March 1982 for 24 currencies (rate of exchange to £1)
  • Foreign exchange rates on April 5th 1974 for 22 currencies are listed for Irish CGT purposes (free rate of exchange to £1 and rate based on 28-3/8% dollar premium)
  • Daily exchange rates for Irish Punts to the Pound (Sterling), to assist with CGT calculations in the Republic of Ireland. The rates listed cover the period of April 9th 1984 to April 5th 2004 and give the day's spread for punts to the pound for every working day of the year.

Gee Tax Factbook

The edition of Gee's Tax Factbook held in the ICAEW Library collection includes some historical yearly average exchange rates and spot rates as issued by HMRC between 1998 and 2008. These figures can be found in Chapter 7 — section 1.9 covers the period December 2004 to March 2008, and section 6.4.7 covers March 1998 to December 2001.
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