by Rukmani Krishna on  December 11, 2013 at 11:48 PM Lifestyle News
 Ahead of Eurozone Entry In Latvia, Euro Coins a Hit With Latvians
On January 1st, the Latvian currency currency will officially be replaced by euro coins and many Latvians queued up Tuesday to be among the first to get their hands on the coins.

The high level of enthusiasm for the coin sets was at odds with opinion polls suggesting nearly 60 percent of the population of two million people oppose eurozone entry.

Unfazed by the eurozone's lumbering debt crisis, the post-Soviet nation will become its 18th member.

Banks and post offices said euro starter packs containing a mixture of coins sold like hot cakes on Tuesday, the first day they were made available to the public.

Ilze Soncika, a bank manager in the central town of Cesis, told AFP that many clients had "wanted to buy several starter packs to give to friends and family as Christmas presents".

Each set sells for 10 lats and contains 14.23 euros ($19.57) in coins. Many bought the maximum five packs permitted per person.

Staff at the Marupe post office near the Riga airport said they sold out of the packs by the afternoon.

"The idea is only to familiarise people with the coins -- this does not mean they can be exchanged yet," Latvian central bank spokesman Martins Gravitis told AFP.

Prices at shops and businesses have been displayed in both currencies since October.

Source: AFP

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