Portugal, Ireland swap euro coins to save money
- Published: Jun 3, 2018, 4 AM
When Portugal needed more 1- and 2-cent coins in 2017, its bankers turned to Ireland.
Instead of contracting with the INCM, Portugal’s national mint, the Bank of Portugal simply bought 272 million of the 1- and 2-cent coins from the Bank of Ireland.
Specifically, the Bank of Portugal purchased 148.8 million 2-cent coins and 123.2 million 1-cent coins. Portugal paid with 2.1 million €2 coins that it sent to Ireland. As manufacturing costs for the 1- and 2-cent euros exceed their face value, the swap saved Portugal a significant amount.
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The Bank of Portugal said the exchange was agreed upon in June 2017. “It was the biggest logistical operation in currency terms since the introduction of the euro and the withdrawal of the escudo,” according to the bank’s annual report, posted April 30.
Ireland no longer circulates 1- and 2-cent coins, and a constant influx of tourists bringing excess €2 coins into Portugal made the swap in denominations the most practical solution. In fact, the report said, Portugal hasn’t struck definitive €2 coins for circulation since 2006, (although it has issued circulating commemorative €2 designs).
All euro circulating coins are valid throughout the eurozone, regardless of which country issues them.
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