Since January 3, euro was officially introduced in Russia. In St Petersburg, 20 banks declared they started to work with new currency of the united Europe. Though in contrast to Paris, the packet with the new coins has never become a modern Christmas present in St Petersburg. In exchange offices on the city, there are still no euro coins. “To be honest, there is no necessity of them, because Europe has not turned to use of these coins in vending machines, while tourists have about themselves pretty good sums that are more suitable to convert in notes,” – executive director of St Petersburg Commercial Banks Association, Viktor Titov says. In St Petersburg, new money is most actively introduced by the North-Western Bank of the Saving Bank of Russia, by Alfa-Bank and Konstants-Bank. They were technically better prepared for euro appearance and started to carry out operations with the new currency since January 3, as it was declared. According to clients’ applications, money on their currency accounts was converted from different European currencies to euro. While other banks joined to this work later. After euro introduction was officially declared, there were no euros in most of exchange offices of the city. Nevertheless, bankers state, there was no agiotage with exchange. According to the specialists, St Petersburg banks will face the demand for euro not sooner than a new tourist season starts, about April-May, because so far the new currency is bough by tourists departing abroad. Large-scale firms do not hasten to convert their budgets into euro, because they are accustomed to the dollar. So, most likely this process will take years. The specialists complain about the Central Bank of Europe not actively carrying out the work to promote euro beyond the bounds of Europe. Therefore, local bank associations have to take upon themselves functions of the new currency’s propagandists, what takes time and money.
Natalya Koryakina St Petersburg
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/01/10/35460.html