The franc (franc comorien; فرنك قمري; sign: CF; ISO 4217 code: KMF) is the official currency of Comoros. It is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes, although no centime denominations have ever been issued.
The French franc became the currency of Comoros after the islands became a French protectorate in 1886. In 1891, Sultan Said Ali bin Said Omar of Grande Comore, Ngazidja issued coins denominated in centimes and francs which circulated alongside French currency. In 1912, the Comoros became a province of Madagascar, which was a French possession. French banknotes and coins circulated in the colony. Apart from an emergency issue of small change notes in 1920, the French currency circulated alone until 1925.
On 1 July 1925, the French government formed an agreement with the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas to create the Banque de Madagascar, headquartered in Paris, and granted it a private monopoly to issue currency for the colony of Madagascar. The Malagasy franc (French: franc malgache) was equivalent to the French franc and French coins continued to circulate as Madagascar had no coins of its own until 1943.
When the Comoros became a separate French territory in 1945, the name of the issuing bank was changed to the Banque de Madagascar et des Comores (still headquartered in Paris). A branch office opened in Comoros in 1953. While the banknotes were changed to reflect the new status of Comoros, the coins were not changed and bore only the name Madagascar. On 26 December 1945, the Madagascar-Comores CFA franc was established and its value was fixed at 1.7 French francs. Old Madagascar coins and banknotes continued to circulate as this new currency. On 17 October 1948, the CFA franc was revalued to 2 French francs.
In 1950, the French government took over majority ownership of the Banque de Madagascar et des Comores. On 1 January 1960, the French franc was revalued, with 100 old francs becoming 1 new franc. ( Décret n°59-1450 du 22 décembre 1959) The new exchange rate was 1 Madagascar-Comores CFA franc = 0.02 French francs (50 Madagascar-Comores CFA francs = 1 French franc).
On 26 June 1960, Madagascar gained independence from France, and the Institut d'Émission Malgache (headquartered in Antananarivo) was created to issue currency only for Madagascar. Madagascar left the CFA zone effective 1 July 1973.
On 23 November 1979, the government of Comoros signed the Accord de coopération monétaire entre la République Française et la République fédérale islamique des Comores, a monetary cooperation agreement with France, making Comoros part of the franc zone (but not part of the CFA franc zone). This agreement provided for the establishment of a system of fixed parity between the French franc and the Comorian franc and free convertibility between the two currencies, guaranteed by the Comorian central bank's opening of an operations account (compte d'operation) at the French Treasury (Trésor public) to handle all exchange transactions. Sixty-five percent of the foreign exchange reserves of Comoros are held in euros in this account. This account is similar to overnight deposits with the French Treasury: it may bear interest and may, in special circumstances, post a negative balance. However, to prevent this account from showing a lasting overdraft, a number of preventative measures have been set up.
The stability of the Comorian franc is founded on tight monetary and credit discipline, underpinned by two specific safeguard measures: the central bank is required to maintain 20% foreign-exchange cover of its sight liabilities, and the government is not allowed to draw more than 20% of the previous year's budget receipts from their central bank funds. The ministers of finance of the franc area (France, the CFA zone and Comoros) meet biannually. The agreement between France and the Comoros is essentially the same as the agreement France has with the CFA Zone. It is a continuation of a relationship of monetary cooperation between the two countries that has existed for more than a century.
Until 1994, the Comorian franc was pegged to the French franc at the rate of 50 Comorian francs to 1 French franc. This was changed on January 12, 1994, when the currency was devalued in concert with the CFA franc devaluation. however, the Comorian franc was devalued 33⅓% to a new rate of 75 Comorian francs for 1 French franc, while the CFA franc's new rate was 100 CFA francs to 1 French franc. With the creation of the euro in January 1999, the Comorian franc was pegged, at its prevailing rate, to the new currency. The exchange rate is now 491.96775 Comorian francs to 1 euro.