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    No more small change left

    The country is running out of small coins of 1c and 2c, which have already been abolished in neighbouring countries like the Netherlands. The European Central Bank has already taken the decision to longer produce the copper coins, which cost more to produce than their face-value. In countries like the Netherlands where they are no longer in circulation, prices of one to five cents are rounded down, while those of six to nine are rounded up.

    There has been no substantial objection to the move. Electronic payments can still cope with the exact amount, regardless of the fraction.

    According to the Central Bank, 1.6 billion of the coins have been produced, but they are not in circulation. Most people, it appears, come home and use the coins to fill a jar or some other receptacle, effective removing the coins from circulation. When you go to the supermarket, unless paying electronically, they have no may of making exact change. And for smaller shops, the situation is even worse.

    The Central Bank is now considering a collection action, by which customers would be encouraged to bring their old brown coins to the bank so as to return them to value and to circulation.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times