The pound sterling
; ISO code
), commonly known simply as the pound
, is the official currency
of the United Kingdom
, the Isle of Man
, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
, the British Antarctic Territory
andTristan da Cunha
It is subdivided into 100 pence
). A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the pound
. At various times, the pound sterling was commodity money
or bank notes backed by silver or gold, but it is currently fiat money
, backed only by the economy in the areas where it is accepted. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use and which has been in continuous usage since its inception.
The British Crown dependencies of Guernsey and Jersey produce their own local issues of sterling: “Guernsey pound” and “Jersey pound“. The pound sterling is also used in the Isle of Man (alongside the Manx pound), Gibraltar (alongside the Gibraltar pound), the Falkland Islands (alongside the Falkland Islands pound), Saint Helena and Ascension Island in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (alongside the Saint Helena pound). The Bank of England is the central bank for the pound sterling, issuing its own coins and banknotes, and regulating issuance of banknotes by private banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Banknotes issued by other jurisdictions are not regulated by the Bank of England; local governments use Bank of England notes as backing for local issuance by allowing them to be exchanged 1:1 at face value.
Sterling is the 4th most traded currency in the foreign exchange market, after the United States dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen. Together with those three currencies it forms the basket of currencies which calculate the value of IMF special drawing rights, with an 11.3% weighting as of 2011 (USD 41.9%, Euro 37.4%, Yen 9.4%). Sterling is also the 3rd most held reserve currency inglobal reserves (about 4%).