Euro to become Lithuania's sole currency for cash payments

January 16, 2015 11:29 am 

VILNIUS, Jan. 16 — The two-week dual currency circulation period ended on Thursday in Lithuania, which became the newest eurozone member on Jan. 1, 2015.

On Jan. 16, the euro will become the sole legal currency for cash payments in the Baltic country, the Bank of Lithuania said in a statement.

The euro in circulation exceeds litas, the previous Lithuanian currency, by 1.5 times, according to Vitas Vasiliauskas, chairman of the board of the Bank of Lithuania.

"In Lithuania, the euro will prevail quietly and consistently, people are getting used to the new currency, which smoothly replaced the litas, which has been in circulation for more than two decades," Vasiliauskas was quoted as saying in a statement.

Most Lithuanian businesses agree that the euro changeover has been smooth.

"The euro for business people is a matter-of-course, nevertheless, small businesses might have been complaining for the lack of small cash," Sigitas Besagirskas, the head of the economy and finance department at Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, was quoted as saying by local website lrytas.lt.

According to the bank, on Jan. 15, there were 1.455 billion euro (59 percent) and 0.991 billion euro (41 percent) in litas in circulation.

About 350 subdivisions of the country's commercial banks will exchange litas free of charge until July 1, 2015; about 89 branches of the banks will continue this procedure until the end of this year (only banknotes).

At the Bank of Lithuania, litas will be exchanged for euros free of charge for an unlimited time and without a limit on the amount.

Lithuania formally adopted euro on Jan. 1, 2015, as the 19th member of the single currency bloc. (1 euro = 1.17 U.S. dollars). (PNA/Xinhua)

LGI/JSD

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