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After Canada, are the penny’s days numbered in the States?

After Canada, are the penny’s days numbered in the States?
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The Royal Canadian Mint announced earlier this month that the Canadian penny is being withdrawn from circulation.

The coin however remains legal tender but shop owners have been advised to round out prices to the nearest nickel in cash transactions.

It is simple maths . It costs 1.6 Canadian cents to produce each one cent coin and stamping out the penny will save around C$11 million (8.1€ million) a year, Reuters reported in March 2012.

The phasing out triggered several penny drives by charities, including 70 million pennies collected by the NGO Free the Children.

Non-cash payments such as checks, credit and debit cards will continue to be settled to the cent.

Is the US next?

Officially there are no such plans in the United States. “The vast majority of users apparently are content with the existing coin denominations, including the one-cent coin. As a result, the Treasury Department has no plans now to cease production of the penny,” the US Mint websites says.

However, Barack Obama recently hinted at a change of mind. ““This is not going to be a huge saving for government [It is reported that the cost of minting pennies is 58 million dollars per year, in 2012 each one cost 2.41 cents to make]. But anytime we’re spending more money on something that people don’t actually use, that’s an example of something we should probably change,” the US president said during a Google+ hangout , NBC News reported.

“One of the things that you see chronically in government is, it’s very hard to get rid of things that don’t work so that we can then invest in the things that do,” he said. “The penny is an example of something that I need legislation for,” he nuanced, according to NBC News. “And, frankly, given all of the big issues that we have to deal with day-in/day-out, a lot of times (…) we’re not able to get to it.”

Other nations that have either ceased to produce or have removed low denomination coins include Australia, Brazil, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Britain.

With Reuters

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