Monday, December 08, 2008

Mexico wants to shrink coins to save a few cents

MEXICO CITY – Does it feel like your money is shrinking nowadays? In some countries around the world, it really is getting smaller.

Mexico, following the lead of several countries around the world, has proposed making coins smaller and using cheaper metals to keep cost low amid the financial crisis and volatile metal costs.

The Mexican Senate on Thursday approved President Felipe Calderon's bill to modify the country's coinage. The plan awaits approval from the lower house of Congress, which will vote in February.

"We're being hit hard economically, so we're looking to spend more efficiently," said Enrique Lobato, director of cash programming for Mexico's central bank.

The Mexican economy is running a 1.8 percent budget deficit, the country's first in years, and next year's 3 trillion peso ($224 billion) budget will be tight.

Lobato said under Calderon's proposal, the bank could save around 200 million pesos (US$14.7 million) per year in production costs.

Total production costs on coins this year reached nearly 1 billion pesos (US$73.5 million,) he said. Costs include the price of metals and minting the coins. The bank produces around 1.5 billion coins each year.

Mexico has eight kinds of coins in the following amounts: . . .

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