What Is the Chilean Peso (CLP)?

The Chilean peso has been the official currency of Chile since 1975. Its ISO code is CLP, and its symbol is ($).

Understanding the Chilean Peso

The Chilean population has several colloquial names for the Chilean peso (CLP). These names include quina for the 500 peso note, first introduced in 1977, and gamba for the 100 peso note. The largest denomination of CLP is the 20,000 peso note, released in 1998. In 2011, the Banco Central de Chile began circulating more secure polymer banknotes, and only a few remain printed on cotton-infused paper.

The peso’s valuation has changed several times since its introduction. Until 1979, the central bank held the currency within a crawling band of exchange rate values. Between 1979 and 1982, the central bank pegged the peso to the U.S. dollar. Overvaluation of the peso caused by a combination of the dollar peg and high-interest rates caused the country to run up its debt, leading to an economic crisis in 1982. Associated inflation made centavo coins obsolete in 1984.

The Central Bank returned to a system of crawling currency bands to value the currency between 1984 and 1999. The currency’s value has floated freely since then, though the Chilean government allows occasional market intervention to control extreme volatility. The currency’s value has remained relatively stable since, aside from actions by the central bank following Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, and volatility following Brazil’s chaotic 2002 election cycle. The central bank also reins in the currency’s strength against the USD during 2008 and 2011. The money fell precipitously in 2015 on market fears of a drop in copper prices, but the central bank declined to intervene at that time.