Monopoly Money

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Over 6 billion notes and nearly 40 billion coins have been distributed to banks, retail shops, and cash machines, which begin dispensing the new currency at 1100GMT.

Early indications are that the huge logistical task of distributing the new currency has gone relatively smoothly, with little evidence of either counterfeiting or price rises.

The Euro is expected to rival the US dollar as an international currency and persuade non member states to tagalong.

However, outside the euro zone many international banks said they would wait the week out before issuing hard euro currencies.

Only some large international banks have made arrangements to have hard currencies available this week.

Locally, it is understood that though banks had made arrangements to hold physical currency, non of them actually have any as of today.

Local banks also said they would wait the week out before real currency dealings were made.

Commercial Bank officials said the new Euros would be delivered to the Central Bank, and through them to the local banks.

Local money brokers and businesses feel optimistic of the euro and the potential it hold if it becomes a successful international currency.

They said that if cross border transactions increase as a result of the single currency, the 12 nations would have to import more goods.

They said such a situation would definitely hold some potential for Sri Lankan exporters and businesses.

Meanwhile the tourism industry is also expected to benefit. Industry officials said that if the weaker economies spruced up their act, it would bring prosperity to the European consumer.

This in turn would leave the consumer with savings and perhaps disposable income. Which tourist industry officials
quote hope would encourage more Europeans to take a vacation in this part of the world.

Meanwhile, some news sources in the region reported that only 40 per cent of the required notes and coins were minted.

However, European Union officials said more currency was being added continuously across the 12 countries form their own mints.