High-denomination Cuba notes to enter circulation sometime in February

Current largest notes worth about $4 U.S., too small for increased trade levels
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Published : 01/19/15
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New 200-, 500- and 1,000-pesos notes will begin to circulate in Cuba in February 2015, according to a New York Times article posted online Jan. 15, 2015.

According to the article this will be a “step forward in the government's plan to unify its dual-currency system.”

Most Cubans earn and buy goods in local pesos worth about 4 U.S. cents apiece. Tourism, one of the island's main sources of foreign exchange, operates on the convertible peso, a special currency worth roughly one U.S. dollar, according to the article.

The double currency allows Cuba to theoretically split the country between a realm of highly subsidized prices in Cuban pesos and a convertible-peso economy where prices more closely resemble those of U.S. or European cities. But the system has led to economic distortions and created a new class of privileged Cubans with access to convertible pesos.

This means that customers and businesses must increasingly handle larger quantities of cash, a problem accentuated by the fact that the country's largest bank note, the 100-peso bill, is worth about $4 U.S.

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