Residents still hold about half a million not exchanged litas
Three years after the adoption of the single currency of the European Union, the euro, in Lithuania residents in our country and abroad still hold more than 469 million litas, or about 8 per cent of litas that had been in circulation until 1 January 2015. This makes about 11 tons of banknotes and about 1,593 tons of coins that have not returned to their issuer – the Bank of Lithuania.
‘There will be those who will be exchanging litas into euro at our cash offices in Vilnius and Kaunas this year as well since residents still hold significant amounts of them. But we project that such currency exchangers will further be declining in number. Last year, compared to the previous year, fewer litas were exchanged at the Bank of Lithuania; there were fewer residents who exchanged litas either, but the amount exchanged per transaction increased. For a couple of times the amounts exchanged exceeded LTL 100,000, while once we even exchanged half a million litas,’ said Egidijus Paleckis, Head of the Policy, Issue and Control Division of the Cash Department at the Bank of Lithuania.
He noted that all litas issued into circulation would never return to the Bank of Lithuania, as part of them has been destructed, another part hidden and those places have been forgotten; other litas have gone abroad or people have left them to themselves as a memento.
Throughout 2017, more than 30 thousand litas exchange transactions were performed (throughout 2016 – 47 thousand); a total of 22 million litas was exchanged. In Vilnius, about 12 million litas were exchanged and more than 18 thousand litas exchange transactions were carried out; in Kaunas – 10 million and and 12 thousand respectively.
In 2017, an average 726 litas were exchanged per transaction, in 2016 – about 665 litas.
According to the data of 28 December 2017, residents still hold more than 336.3 million litas banknotes (6% of those that were in circulation on 1 January 2015) and about 114.5 million litas circulation coins (58%). Out of the entire LTL 469 million amount which has not returned to the Bank of Lithuania, in terms of their former value, more than 18.7 million are comprised of numismatic litas coins. Such coins have increased by 0.2 million in number compared to their amount on the euro adoption date 1 January 2015, as the Bank of Lithuania also sells them from its holdings after starting using the single currency.
As the national currency, the litas was used in the Republic of Lithuania in 1922–1940. Following a break of over 50 years it returned in 1993: litas banknotes and coins were re-issued into circulation on 25 June. As legal tender, this currency is no longer valid from 16 January 2015 after having circulated for two weeks together with euro.
Litas of all issues (1991 and subsequent) are exchanged at the Bank of Lithuania free of charge and in unlimited amounts.Residents who still hold litas can exchange them at the Bank of Lithuania cash offices in Vilnius (Žirmūnų g. 151) and Kaunas (Maironio g. 25).