Symbols for Taiwan dollars: NT or just T?


#1

Although I am a newcomer fresh off the boat FOB to Taiwan, I am wondering if it might be possible to change the way we write the symbol for New Taiwan Dollars here. My first question is this:

what are old Taiwan dollars?

what are New Taiwan dollars?

and what’s the difference

and my second question is this:

instead of writing NT$ for the money system here in English, why can’t we just write T$ (for Taiwan dollars) ?

if the Australians can write A$
and the yanks can write just why can't we write T here to stand for Taiwan Dollars? why do we need this N for NEW?

can any oldtimers explain this to me?

thanks

if you agree with me, let’ start a movement right here, now, to change the system for money symbols and ask everyone we know to start writing money like this: “I paid T$100 for that new comic book.”

Why the extra letter? Okay, so I am lazy, I admit it.

Good idea? Curious to hear other opinions from ex-FOBs here…


#2
quote:
Originally posted by mergatroid: and the yanks can write just $

I think you mean AMERICANS…YANKEES come from north of the Mason-Dixon Line.


#3

By O’Brian

quote[quote] I think you mean AMERICANS…YANKEES come from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. [/quote]No, I think he does mean Yanks.

#4

I’m not that much of an old-timer, but I’ll take a stab at your question. (You’re not really FOB though, are you?)

What would now be called “Old Taiwan dollars” are the “Taiwan dollars” the KMT introduced in 1946 to replace the Japanese currency then still used in Taiwan. Since these new notes, however, were based on essentially worthless mainland currency, nobody wanted them. The problem became bigger once the flood of people from the mainland began.

So in 1949 the government tried again, this time with the “New Taiwan dollar,” a Taiwan-based currency that had the advantage of all that gold newly arrived from the mainland helping back its worth. The exchange rate between the old and new currencies was T$40,000 to NT$1.

quote[quote]instead of writing NT$ for the money system here in English, why can't we just write T$ (for Taiwan dollars) ?[/quote] Because that would be incorrect. You're welcome to try to start your movement, of course. But keep in mind that this is a place that has screwed up all attempts at standardizing, say, street signs. How far do you think you'd get trying to change one of the few things that is already standardized correctly?

#5

I did mean Yanks.

And thanks for the history lesson, sir! Given what you’ve said, I hereby declare my movement dead in the water and will forgettaboudit! It’s just that everytime I write NT$ I feel that I just want to write T$. But I will accept your advice and call it DOA, dead on arrival. Thanks for the heads upper.


#6

Did you hear about the fellow who bought a new set of living room furniture? The bill came to T$40,000. However a week later when the furniture was delivered, the KMT government had already instituted the currency reform.

He paid a total of NT$ 1 for the furniture.

This is a true story that happened in the village where my wife grew up.


#7

Check into my soil shattering discovery that the globe etc. on the NT$1000
is reversed, http://jidanni.org/geo/nt1000/ .


#8

According to A History of Taiwan by Hung Chian-Chao (2000), from 1946 to 1949, Chiang Kai-Shek exploited the Taiwan Provincial government’s money in order to pay off the budget of the ROC government on the mainland. There was rampant inflation on the mainland during that time because of government money constantly going into the pockets of ROC government officials. But the siphoning of the Taiwan’s provincial government’s money in order to reduce the budget deficit in Shanghai caused inflation in Taiwan almost as bad as in China.

During the time when Taiwan was a colony of Japan (1895 to 1945), the currency used in Taiwan was the “Taiwanese yen”. The notes and coins were different than the Japanese yen notes and coins used in Japan proper, but the exchange rate of the Taiwanese yen was pegged to the Japanese yen at the rate of one to one. It was very similar to the system used in Australia before 1966. (The currency used in Australia before 1966 used to be the Australian pound, which was pegged to the British pound at the rate of one to one.)

Chiang Kai-Shek thought that since the inflation in China was so extreme at that time, the best way to use Taiwanese money to pay off his loans in China would be to start a new currency and have its value pegged to the Chinese yuan. So on May 22, 1946, all the banks in Taiwan started issuing “Taiwan dollars”, and everyone in Taiwan was told that they could trade in their Taiwanese yen for Taiwan dollars at the rate of one to one, and the Taiwan dollar was pegged to the Chinese yuan at the rate of 30 to 1.

But since the inflation in the ROC-controlled area of China at that time was so extreme, this peg was soon removed, and by August 1948, the exchange rate between Taiwan dollars and Chinese yuan had gone from 30 to 1635! But still, inflation in Taiwan from 1946 to 1953 was extremely high. For example, the prices of goods in Taiwan rose an average of 776 percent in 1947, 1144 percent in 1948, and 1189 during the first half of 1949.

Then, on June 15th, 1949, the New Taiwan dollar (“NT$”) was issued, and Taiwan dollars were traded in for New Taiwan dollars at the fixed rate of 40,000 to 1.

When the NT$ was first issued (in June 1949), the exchange rate with the US dollar was NT$5 = US$1. In other words, NT$1 = 20 cents. But this means that one (old) Taiwan dollar was worth only 5 millionths of one US dollar! But don’t forget that just three years earlier, the (old) Taiwan dollars were issued in exchange for Taiwanese yen, which were of equal value to Japanese yen!

By just one year later (July 1950), the NT$ had already lost half of its value, and then the exchange rate with the US dollar was NT$10 = US$1.

I feel sorry for the Taiwanese people who were forced to lose almost all of their savings just because of Chiang Kai-Shek’s selfishness, greediness, and mis-management! Everyone’s savings quickly became almost completely worthless, and people were forced to sell everything they had just to be able to eat. Thousands of people who were rich until 1946 became paupers just a few years later! It was very similar to what happened in South Vietnam when it was taken over by Communist North Vietnam in 1975.

Inflation in Taiwan was finally brought under control in late 1953. Then later (but I don’t know exactly when) the value of the NT$ was pegged to the US dollar at the rate of NT$40 = US$1. The peg remained until martial law was lifted in 1987. Then as soon as the peg was removed, the value suddenly increased to NT$25 = US$1, which caused thousands of Taiwanese exporting companies to either move their factories to China or go bankrupt.

Then the value fluctuated between NT$25 and NT$28 = US$1 from 1987 until the Asian economic collapse of mid-1997. Since then, the value decreased steadily until it finally reached a low of only NT$36.25 = US$1 last October, which is the lowest I’ve ever seen it since 1987. Since then, it has “recovered” slightly, and it’s now worth NT$33.85 = US$1.

Well, that’s the history of the NT dollar. Sorry that this post is so long, but I didn’t want to omit anything important.


#9
quote:
Originally posted by Hartzell: Did you hear about the fellow who bought a new set of living room furniture? The bill came to T$40,000. However a week later when the furniture was delivered, the KMT government had already instituted the currency reform.

He paid a total of NT$ 1 for the furniture.


Okay, but if the furniture was worth T$40,000 then it’s worth $1 in NT, no?


#10

Very interesting background, thanks Mark!


#11

Locally it is NTD. Internationally it’s TWD.


#12

I call it NT$, when writing to clients etc. The bloomberg code is TWD.