Historical exchange rates
On this page you can find the best print and electronic sources for historical exchange rates. 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.
The Financial Times publishes tables of world currencies against the Pound, Dollar, Euro and Yen. The information is derived from WM Reuters Spot Rates and Morningstar data. The tables for the last five years are available from the FT Data Archive (subscription required).
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 Antweiler of the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business and is primarily for the academic community. The rates start in 1971 but complete data sets will not be available for every currency.
The 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). Data can be downloaded in a variety of formats.
The site also publishes annual reference charts for 24 currencies against the US dollar, Canadian dollar and pound sterling.
- Foreign Currency Units per 1 Canadian Dollar, 1948- (PDF 3 pages 13 KB)
- Foreign Currency Units per 1 U.S. Dollar, 1948- (PDF 3 pages 13 KB)
- Foreign Currency Units per 1 British Pound, 1948- (PDF 3 pages 13 KB)
These charts are compiled from a variety of sources, including the IMF, World Bank and OECD.
Oanda is a commercial website providing foreign exchange and information services for 164 currencies. The data range generally begins in 1990 but the start point varies for each currency. Note that the rates provided by Oanda are averages of figures gathered from Telerate, Bridge, and Reuters rather than being closing market prices.
- Historical exchange rates - a tool that allows you to display the exchange rate (daily averages) between the two currencies of your choice for a date range of up to 2000 days. The date range available is given as 1990 onwards, through there are exceptions (Deutschmark to US Dollar rates go back as far as April 1973). You will need a subscription in order to see data beyond the last 6 months.
- DailyFX - for a specified date and home currency you can create a table showing the exchange rate with any number of additional currencies from 1990 onwards.
The Interactive Currency Table covers 79 world currencies with data going back to 1st January 1995.
Bank of England
The Bank publishes exchange rates through their Statistical Interactive Database. The site provides monthly, quarterly and annual tables going back to January 1963; they can be downloaded in various formats.
ICAEW's Library & Information Service can provide information on end of month, monthly average and annual average exchange rates. We are unable to provide historical daily rates.
Financial Statistics (ONS)
- Sterling exchange rate index against a basket of 24 major world currencies (Table 7.1A) with:
- month by month for the past 4 years
- yearly averages for the 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)
This is now available on the National Archives website. The Bank of England is the source for all the tables listed above.
Simon's Taxes (formerly Simon's Direct Tax Service) maintains a list of over 100 foreign exchange rates, as published annually by the Inland Revenue for general use in converting foreign currency to sterling. The tables are in Binder 10 Part F3.1 and start in 2007-08.
The Library & Information Service subscribes to Simon's Taxes through the LexisNexis online platform.
International Financial Statistics
International Financial Statistics is a monthly publication from the International Monetary Fund in Washington. The publication dates back to 1974. The Library & Information Service holds copies of the January and July editions from 2007 until 2012 (as well as a copy of the edition for December 2012). The main features of International Financial Statistics are:
- An introduction to exchange rates and exchange rate arrangements
- Table of Exchange Rate Arrangements and Anchors of Monetary Policy
- Daily Exchange Rates for 40 currencies against the US dollar.
- Detailed entries for 172 countries with exchange rates against the dollar in a combination of months, quarters and annually back to 1997 - far more detailed than many sources will give you for some of the smaller countries.
The Companies & Markets section of the Financial Times gives exchange rates for 51 currencies against the Pound, Dollar, Euro and Yen. The Library keeps back issues for nine months and holds the FT on microfilm from 1975 onwards.
Note: The Library currently does not have access to its microfilm collection. This is a temporary change and we hope to have access restored as soon as is viable. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The Guildhall Library holds the FT in various formats back to 1888.
FT Capital Gains Tax Service
The annual volume of FT Interactive Data's Capital Gains Tax Service lists 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
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