In the Latvian starter kits some people found 2 euro cent with Latvian national side but no common side (blank)
A successful start for the euro changeover in Latvia
On 1 January 2014, Latvia adopted the euro as its official currency and the changeover is running smoothly and according to plan. 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 survey1, 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.
Smooth euro changeover in Latvia: already two-thirds of cash payments in euro only
Latvia adopted the euro on 1 January, thus becoming the 18th member of the euro area. The changeover is proceeding according to plan.
According to a recent Commission survey1, already two-thirds of cash payments in shops were made in euro only on the fourth changeover day (Saturday 4 January). Virtually all customers (95 %) were also getting their change in euro. More than a third of the citizens polled said they carry only euro cash in their wallets (35 % carrying only euro banknotes and 34 % only euro coins). Euro coins had been made available to Latvians already in December by way of euro coin starter kits. Some 584,000 were sold by 31/12/2013, together with 70,000 specific retailer starter kits.
The retail sector has been coping well with the changeover process and parallel handling of two currencies. No major problems regarding queues or problems at the tills have been reported. Some small shops in rural areas that are not located close to a bank or post office are facing challenges, since they are used by citizens as "de facto exchange offices".
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are functioning normally in euro. The number and volume of withdrawals have remained the same as in "lats times". Post offices which are usually closed on Saturdays were open on Saturday 4 January, with a view to facilitating the changeover.
The Latvian Consumer Rights Protection Centre (CRPC) continues to carry out daily inspections to monitor that businesses respect the changeover rules and that prices are properly converted at the official conversion rate of 0.702804 Latvian lats to one euro. Citizens have been asking questions on the changeover and conveying complaints to the dedicated "Euro-Info" Hotline and the CRPC. All questions and complaints are handled diligently by the competent authorities.
Latvians are spending their last lats
The euro changeover in Latvia is reaching its final stage. The lats will cease to be legal tender on 15 January 2014. On Wednesday 8 January, more than nine out of ten cash payments in shops were made in euro only (91 %) and all customers received their change in their new currency1, which shows that the Latvian retail sector is properly supplied with euro cash.
Banks, post offices and retailers are reported to be coping well with the changeover process and parallel handling of two currencies. Latvians are gradually getting used to their new currency and by 8 January, nearly 60 % of consumers had made a full transition to the euro in cash, i.e. they were only carrying euro banknotes and coins in their wallets2.
The adaptation of IT systems in the state administration (in total 106 IT systems) and municipal systems (more than 424 IT systems) was reported to have been smooth, including the IT systems for tax, budget and social payments.
The Consumer Rights Protection Centre continues to carry out daily inspections to monitor that businesses respect the changeover rules and that prices are properly converted at the official conversion rate of 0.702804 Latvian lats to one euro. Concerns voiced by citizens mainly concern issues such as the display of prices and the application of the rounding rules. All questions and complaints are being handled diligently by the competent authorities.
A successful euro changeover in Latvia
Latvia’s changeover from the lats to the euro has been smooth and successful. Since yesterday, it has no longer been possible to make payments in Latvian lats, the two-week dual circulation period having ended on 14 January. No major problems were encountered and banks, post offices and retailers coped well with the extra workload caused by the changeover process and the parallel handling of two currencies.
The amount of euro cash in circulation exceeded the amount of circulating lats cash (value in euro) on 10 January 2014.
According to a Commission survey1, on Wednesday 14 January 2014, more than nine out of ten citizens made cash payments in shops in euro only. All customers were getting their change in euro. Nearly three out of four citizens polled said they carry only euro cash in their wallets.
Lats banknotes and coins can be exchanged at the official conversion rate (1 EUR = 0.702804 LVL) and free of charge at post offices until 31 March 2014 and at commercial banks until 30 June 2014. Thereafter, lats can be exchanged for euros without a service fee at the Bank of Latvia for an unlimited period of time.
Dual display of prices in euro and lats will continue until 30 June 2014.
some people in Latvia are reporting that they have found fake 2 euro coins as shown the image below
Presentation moovie of 2014 latvian numismatic program in Berlin, during the 2014 WMF