Roundup: Croatia's kuna ceases circulation as euro takes over

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ZAGREB, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Kuna, the official currency of Croatia since 1994, ceased circulation on Sunday as euro became the sole legal tender in the country.

Croatia joined the eurozone on the New Year's Day and in order to help residents adapt to the use of euro, the government introduced a two-week period of dual circulation of both currencies from Jan. 1 to midnight of Jan. 14 when kuna ceased circulation.

Since the introduction of the euro, the government has received numerous complaints about price hikes, as some economic entities, took advantage of the introduction of the euro and raised prices under the guise of rounding.

This has led the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who noted that such price hikes "not only harmed citizens but also did great political harm to the government," to set Friday, Jan. 13, as the deadline for business entities to return the increased prices back to the 2022 year-end levels, or face government measures.

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Davor Filipovic said on Friday that, at pressure from the government, "a good number of" business entities had returned prices to the level of Dec. 31, 2022.

"The ministry sent a letter to the 10 largest retail chains to provide them with the prices for last year's 80 items and will continue to provide this information every two weeks," said Filipovic, promising the government's continuous effort.

To facilitate the introduction of euro, Croatian banks have automatically converted residents savings from kuna to euro, at the official exchange rate of 7.5345 kuna for 1 euro.

Although kuna ceased as a means of payment, citizens can convert cash currency into euro at a fixed rate of 7.5345 kuna for 1 euro in commercial banks, Croatian Post and the Financial Agency throughout 2023. A fee applies when more than 100 notes and 100 coins are exchanged per transaction.

From Jan. 1, 2024, when the commercial banks, the Financial Agency and Croatian Post stop providing their currency exchange services, the Croatian National Bank (CNB) will take over the job. There will be no time limit for the CNB to convert the kuna banknotes into euro, but the conversion of kuna coins will be stopped on Dec. 31, 2025.

CNB has said, due to the currency exchange, about 500 million kuna banknotes and 5,200 tons of kuna coins will be collected and send to machines for cutting and melting.

For environmental protection, the banknotes will be shredded into pieces less than a millimeter, and be reused as insulation material in public construction works, while the coins, melted, will serve as raw material for reuse. Enditem

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