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2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuanians exchanged LTL 10 million on first day in euro zone

Some 10 million litas (EUR 2.9m) were exchanged for euros at Lithuanian banks on Thursday, the day when the country officially adopted the EU's single currency, the central bank governor said on Friday morning.

Some 10 million litas (EUR 2.9m) were exchanged for euros at Lithuanian banks on Thursday, the day when the country officially adopted the EU's single currency, the central bank governor said on Friday morning.

"Exchange transactions worth around 10 million litas were performed at all banks, as well as at the Bank of Lithuania, during the day," he said on LRT Radio.

The largest sum of litas was exchanged for euros at SEB Bank, Vasiliauskas said.

"Here's an interesting detail. The lowest sum exchanged at our (Bank of Lithuania's) cash offices was 27 Lithuanian centas. We did exchange it for 6 euro cents," he said.

"We had forecast that the amount of cash in circulation would decline by around 50 percent. It exceeded our expectations. We had a 51-percent decline at the end of the day on 31 December, from 11.9 billion litas to around 5.810 billion litas. We'll see if the amount of cash - in euros now - rises back up or this downward trend continues," he said.

Vasiliauskas said that the central bank had not expected that so many people would want to get rid of their litas in the last days before the currency switch.

"Apparently, we did not expect such an influx of people in the last three days of the year," he said.

Starting Friday, litas can be exchanged for euros free of charge at 700 places around the country, including all banks, most post offices and some credit unions.

Lithuania at midnight on 1 January replaced its national currency, the litas, for the euro to become the 19th member of the euro zone.

BNS