Author Topic: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia  (Read 2669 times)

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Offline chrisild

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1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« on: December 29, 2013, 10:38:23 PM »
On Tuesday night (New Year's Eve), two people will withdraw money at a bank in Riga. Big deal, you say? Well, yes. :)  The two are the prime ministers Valdis Dombrovskis (Latvia) and Andrus Ansip (Estonia). And shortly after midnight, thus early on 1 Jan 2014, they will with draw euro cash.

Dombrovskis resigned last month (after the supermarket collapse in Riga) but is still the acting or interim prime minister. Ansip is the head of government of neighboring Estonia which introduced the euro three years ago. The Latvian finance minister Andris Vilks and the president of the central bank, Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, will also attend.

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 11:09:52 PM »
You are right. It is a big deal. It's a mind boggling event for anyone over 50. Some 30 years ago the whole scene would have been so utterly unthinkable, it would have been laughed at if anyone had been able to conjure it up. Two democratic, independent Baltic states, celebrating together a common European currency they decided to adopt by their own free will...

Congratulations are in order.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 11:25:59 AM »
Images of the ceremony last night can be viewed here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eirolatvija/sets/72157639252027354/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/latvijasbanka/sets/72157639247504116/

And here is a video that shows European politicians who say "Welcome, Latvia". Not exactly thrilling, but a nice gesture. :)


Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 12:03:07 PM »
Welcome and very well done indeed Latvia. (And never mind François Hollande's condescension and arrogance. He set out to pull off an economic recovery like you did, but he failed.)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 12:12:26 PM »
Then again he has many more warm words than that lady in Berlin who not only lacks a vision when it comes to EUrope but does not even have an office either so they had to use some image of the federal parliament for the background. (That sentence ends here. ;) )

Christian

Offline Bimat

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1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 04:47:07 PM »
...And the 500 Lats banknote, one of the most valuable banknote, has also vanished as this Quartz Article correctly mentions. :)

Aditya
Caution. The low-hanging fruits are still there maybe for a reason.

Offline chrisild

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 08:00:55 PM »
Cash is overrated anyway. ;) "At the end of 2013, 630.8 million lats of cash were still in circulation, which is half of the amount at the beginning of the year – 1.2 billion lats." http://www.eiro.lv/en/what-are-euros-/eiro/news/changeover-to-euro-running-smoothly-in-latvia-i2336

Starting tomorrow, all national central banks in the euro area will exchange lats into euro for two months. As usual, the exchange (limited to banknotes) is free of charge.

Christian

Offline Bimat

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1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 04:30:00 AM »
Latvia joins euro zone amid public fears of price rises

Euro switch comes as Baltic state posts strong economic figures after sharp contraction

Dan McLaughlin

Thu, Jan 2, 2014, 00:06

Latvia’s leaders and the European Union have hailed the Baltic state’s adoption of the euro, amid widespread public fears over possible price rises and the future of the single currency.

As fireworks erupted over Latvia’s capital Riga to mark the start of 2014, a new €10 note was pulled from a bank machine by acting prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis, who has been praised by the EU for sticking to painful austerity that restored Latvia to growth after a crippling recession.

The euro is Latvia’s fourth currency in 23 years, following the Soviet rouble; the Latvian rouble, which was introduced after the country regained independence in 1991; and the lat, which came into circulation in 1992, resurrecting the money Latvia used before Soviet occupation in 1940.

For many of Latvia’s two million people, becoming the 18th member of the euro zone is bittersweet: while marking their country’s closer integration with the EU and distancing it further from Russia, it also entails the loss of a currency that was a cherished symbol of sovereignty, and fuels fears of higher prices.

“In all other countries which switched to the euro, prices rose. Most likely, they will rise here as well, which is bad,” said pensioner Oleg Bachurin.

Another Riga resident, Zaneta Smirnova (40) said: “I am against the euro. This isn’t a happy day. The lats is ours, the euro isn’t – we should have kept the lats.”

Pensioner Maiga Majore was more optimistic, saying the euro “can only be a good thing” for Latvia. “To be part of a huge European market is important. All this talk about price rises is just alarmist,” she added.

Surveys suggest that at least half of all Latvians were against euro adoption, and that about two-thirds of them expected it to cause prices to rise.

The monetary switch takes place as Latvia continues to post strong economic figures, but with its people still suffering after several years of spending cuts, layoffs and tax rises.

Analysts estimate the economy grew by about 4 per cent in 2013, following two years in which Latvia outperformed the rest of the EU with expansion of more than 5 per cent.

Brussels says those figures prove the benefit of swingeing austerity measures – equivalent to 16 per cent of gross domestic product – that Mr Dombrovskis pushed through as part of a €7.5 billion bailout programme from the EU and International Monetary Fund.

Latvia applied for the emergency aid after its economy shrank by more than a fifth in 2008-2009 – one of the sharpest contractions on record – as the easy credit that fuelled the “Baltic Tiger” years of stellar growth dried up and Parex, the country’s second-biggest bank, collapsed.

While the austerity programme has helped stabilise Latvia’s economy and allowed it to join the euro zone, it has also contributed to a rise in poverty levels, unemployment and emigration.

“Today is a very important day for Latvia, difficult to imagine three or four years ago,” said finance minister Andris Vilks.

“Everything is just beginning for Latvia,” he said.

European Commission president José Manuel Barroso sent congratulations to Riga, saying the adoption of the euro was “the result of impressive efforts and the unwavering determination of the authorities and the Latvian people”.

Source: Irish Times
Caution. The low-hanging fruits are still there maybe for a reason.

Offline chrisild

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 09:05:34 AM »
Guess that for some any decision says something about how evil that currency is. A country joins the euro area? "The government elite may want the euro, but look at how people are against it, how dare they introduce it, etc." A country stays out? "These politicians know what is best for their country ..."

Interestingly, in neighboring Estonia (where the euro was introduced three years ago) 76 percent seem to be supportive of the common currency, see here. Nah, wait ... the source is the November 2013 Eurobarometer, thus the European Commission, thus those eurocrats, thus it cannot be reliable except maybe for those countries where it shows an anti-euro majority. >:D

Christian

Offline Bimat

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1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2014, 04:00:47 PM »
EU Says Successful Start For Latvia’s Euro Changeover

January 4, 2014

On 1 January 2014, Latvia adopted the euro as its official currency and the changeover is running smoothly and according to plan, according to the European Commission.

The previous national currency – the lat – is now being phased out during a transitional two-week dual circulation period when both currencies have legal tender status. By the end of Thursday 2 January, 30 % of payments in shops were being made in euro only and 94 % of customers were getting their change in euro. No major problems were observed in banks or in the retail sector.

According to a recent Commission survey, a large proportion of Latvians already had euro cash two days before the changeover: 52 % had euro banknotes and 64 % had euro coins – typically from trips abroad, but many also from an exchange in a bank or post office in Latvia or coins from euro starter kits. The widespread holdings of euro cash in advance of €-day contribute to a smoother cash changeover.

The conversion of ATMs (cash dispensers) went smoothly and virtually all ATMs have been distributing euro banknotes as from the first hour of 1 January. Furthermore, several branches of the three largest banks were open for cash services on Wednesday 1 January. Point-of-sale terminals for card payments in shops were likewise successfully converted to euro in time for the opening of shops on 2 January.

Due to the New Year holidays, commercial activity during the first two days of the changeover was lower than normal. According to the Commission survey2, most people who made a purchase in cash on 2 January used Latvian lats, in order to use the old currency in shops rather than having to go to a bank to exchange them. However, at the end of the second changeover day, 30 % of those polled already paid in euro only, which is a very high figure compared to previous changeovers.

Commercial banks had received euro banknotes and coins in advance from the Latvian Central Bank and had in turn supplied euro cash to shops and other businesses under a specific contract, so that they could handle payments and return change in euro as from the first changeover day. The successful advance supply of cash enabled a very high number of retailers to provide change in euro only. At the end of the second day of the changeover, 94 % of the change was already given in the new currency. This is important in order to withdraw the old Latvian lats from circulation as quickly as possible.

After the first two days with their new currency, 25 % of citizens polled said they already had only or mostly euro banknotes in their wallet.

“Thanks to careful preparations, the start of the changeover has been successful. No major problems have been encountered so far and banks and retailers were generally doing well with the first days of the changeover,” the European Commission said.

Source: Eurasia Review
Caution. The low-hanging fruits are still there maybe for a reason.

Offline canadacoin

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2014, 04:45:21 PM »
Lats to euro will be possible  to be exchanged in accordance with the enacted rate of the Bank of Latvia, which was irreversibly fixed by the EU member states, at 0.702804 lats per euro (1 lats = 1.42 euro), without comission and for an unlimited period of time. At the Bank of Latvia, lats will be changed to euro in perpetuity. For six months from the date of introduction of the euro, exchanges will be possible at credit institutions and for three months, at 302 Latvian Post offices

Source: http://www.eiro.lv/en/media/frequently-asked-questions/official-exchange-rate-periods-of-changeover-latvian-euro-coins-and-banknotes

I will be in Riga in May 2014 to exchange leftover LATS from previous trips and get uncirculated Euros :)

Offline chrisild

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Re: 1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2014, 05:09:09 PM »
Ah, if you travel to Latvia anyway, that is of course a good occasion to get your coins and notes (well, the ones that you do not want to keep in your collection) exchanged. :)  Until 28 Feb, people in other euro area member states also have the option to change any lats notes into euro "locally", ie. at any branch office of any national central bank ...

Christian

Offline Bimat

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1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2016, 06:11:54 PM »
95 pct of Latvian lats banknotes, 37.9 pct of coins exchanged for euros by late July

2016-08-05
BNS/TBT Staff/Riga

Since Latvia’s switch from lats to euros as its national currency on Jan. 1, 2014, the majority of lats banknotes and less than half of lats coins have been traded in for euros, BNS learned at the Bank of Latvia.

The Latvian central bank stated that 37.9 per cent of lats coins, worth 27.5 million lats (39.1 million euros) and 95 per cent of lats banknotes, worth 934 million lats (1.329 billion euros), have been removed from circulation as of the end of July 2016. A total of 145 million coins and 46.9 million banknotes have been taken out of circulation.

By the end of last month, 343.8 million lats coins weighing 790 tons still had not been traded in for euros. The majority of lats coins not yet exchanged are of the lowest denominations, one-santims coins and two-santims coins, a total of 241 million coins. 24.4 million one-lats coins remain in the hands of the public, including special design coins.

The majority of lats banknotes yet to be traded in are five-lats banknotes (1.8 million banknotes) and 20-lats banknotes (927,000 banknotes).

The central bank predicts that the exchange process will continue at a slow pace, remarked Bank of Latvia spokesman Janis Silakalns.

Latvia joined the euro zone on Jan. 1, 2014, becoming its 18th member.

Source: Baltic Times
Caution. The low-hanging fruits are still there maybe for a reason.

Offline Bimat

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1-Jan-2014: Euro Introduction in Latvia
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 03:44:37 PM »
96% of Latvian lats banknotes, 39% of coins exchanged for euros by end July

BC, Riga, 10.07.2018.

After Latvia gave up its national currency, the lats, and switched to euros on January 1, 2014, 96% of lats banknotes and 39% of lats coins were exchanged for euros by the end of March, Bank of Latvia spokesman Janis Silakalns reported, informs LETA.

The Latvian central bank reported that 39% of lats coins, worth LVL 28.2 mln (EUR 40.1 mln) and 96% of lats banknotes, worth LVL 937.8 mln (EUR 1.334 bln), has been taken out of circulation by the end of June 2018. Altogether 146.7 mln coins and 47 mln banknotes have been taken out of circulation.

At the end of June, 342.1 mln lats coins weighing 785 tons still had not been exchanged for euros. Most of the lats coins not yet exchanged are of the smallest denominations – one-santims coins and two-santims coins, altogether 240.2 mln coins. The number of the remaining one-lats coins is 24.2 mln, including special design coins.

Most of the lats banknotes that had not yet been exchanged are five-lats banknotes (1.7 mln banknotes) and 20-lats banknotes (841,000 banknotes).

Latvia joined the euro area on January 1, 2014, becoming its 18th member.

Source: Baltic Course
Caution. The low-hanging fruits are still there maybe for a reason.