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Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 16:20 GMT
Euro used for 75% of payments
Genuine 50 euro notes
The euro is winning quick acceptance
The euro is now being used for nearly three quarters of cash payments in the 12-nation single currency zone, according to the European Commission.

Euro notes and coins were launched a week ago, on 1 January.

The post-Christmas sales season in the shops is helping to speed euro coins and notes into circulation and to strip out national banknotes from the countries' economies.

Queues in shops are back to normal and are shortening at banks, the Commission said.

Collectors cause hiccup

But some coin shortages have arisen because people are hoarding the new currency, the European Central Bank (ECB) said.

It urged consumers to spend the starter packs of euro coins that were distributed ahead of the launch to allow people a chance to familiarise themselves with the new currency.

The value of national banknotes in circulation within the eurozone had dropped 18% to 220.7bn euros one week after the euro's introduction as a cash currency, the ECB said.

The euro is now being used for at least 60% of all transactions in member countries.

See also:

04 Jan 02 | Jan02_July02
Where is the euro used?
03 Jan 02 | Business
Italy rows over rising euro prices
03 Jan 02 | Business
Euro safety worries fade away
03 Jan 02 | Business
Euro soars against major currencies
06 Dec 01 | Business
ECB holds rates steady
05 Dec 01 | Business
UK leaves interest rates on hold
22 Nov 01 | Business
Germany's economy shrinks
22 Nov 01 | Business
Rich countries on the brink
08 Nov 01 | Business
ECB takes bold action
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