Belgium 1835 40 Francs.jpg
(Public domain)

The Belgian franc was the currency of Belgium throughout the XIXth century. Monetary policy was of huge relevance during the century, given that the relative value of a currency determines the amount of exports and imports the country using the currency will have.

Generally speaking, Belgium has always tried to keep the currency at a constant level, without big depreciations or appreciations of the currency. 

However, if we look at the different economic periods of the century, we can see some differences.

(Market watch, 2018)

At the beginning of the 30’s, Belgium, like many other States, started pegging their coin to gold in order to stabilise the value of their currency.




This managed to keep the franc stable until 1935, when Belgium  left gold, which resulted in a devaluation of the frank of 28%. This decision has been questioned afterwards. The stability provided by pegging the coin was not reflected in economic benefits or progress of great magnitude.

Before Belgium left the Gold Standard, two important events took place: The Crack of the stock market in 1929 and the withdrawal of Britain from the Gold Standard, which put Belgium at an economic disadvantage.

During the 1940’s, the coin was devaluated in 1949, following the trend started by Britain. Some years later, in the 1950’s period, there was an appreciation of the currency in order to maintain monetary stability.

(Daily Pioneer, 2017)

From 1970 to 1982, the currency was appreciated. This appreciation worsened the situation of the Balance of Payments, since an appreciation of a currency tends to lead to a decrease in exports and an increase in imports, which is what happened in the case of Belgium. This appreciation of the currency was translated into an increase in inflation.


Finally, during the end of the century, the currency followed a path of devaluation in order to respond to the previous years of inflation.

As we can see, the currency was constantly trying to be under balance, with periods of appreciation of the currency being followed by periods of depreciation. The currency of a country is a very important tool, but in the case of intensively commercial countries, it is necessary to keep it regulated and under control in order to have a positive commercial balance.

For this reason, we can say that monetary policy (which nowadays is restricted due to the fact that Belgium is in the Euro Zone), though a very important mechanism to regulate macroeconomic variables, was not used intensively in the case of Belgium, since they preferred to keep the currency under control to prevent huge commercial imbalances among other reasons.


  1. Market watch. (1 de November de 2018). Gold settles at a more than 3-month high a day after posting a 3-week low. Obtenido de Market watch: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-rallies-from-three-week-low-as-dollar-index-sinks-2018-11-01
  2. Daily Pioneer. (14 de July de 2017). India’s June exports rise by over 4%. Obtenido de Daily Pioneer: http://energolife.info/ua/2017/Business/5557/%D0%92%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B8–%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%89%D1%96-%D0%B4%D0%BB%D1%8F-%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%80%D1%82%D1%83-%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D0%B8.
  3. Murphy, A. B., Van der Wee, H. F., Doucy, A. J., Lamberts, E. L., Materné, J. M., Van Molle, L., & Britannica, T. E. (2018, December 10). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from Belgium: https://www.britannica.com/place/Belgium/Belgium-and-World-War-I


  1. Centre for Economic Policy Research. (1996). Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945.Cambridge; New York; Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.




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