By Harry Keaney
With Ireland among the first batch of 11 European countries to join European monetary union on Jan. 1, many people will now be trying to get an idea as to the exchange rate between the new European currency, called the euro, and their dollars and punts.
On Monday, Jan. 11, Allied Irish Bank in New York was selling euros at the rate of one euro for $1.2170. AIB was buying euros at the rate of $1.0970.
On Monday, Jan. 4, AIB was selling euros at a rate of $1.2382.
"A euro is $1.24," a spokesperson at the bank told the Echo.
AIB was buying euros at the rate of $1.1182.
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On Dec. 31, the exchange rate for the currencies of all 11 participating European countries was set by European Union finance ministers in terms of the euro.
The rate for the Irish currency was set at 78.7564 pence for one euro.
A spokesman for AIB in New York explained that this rate was fixed for all time. "Roughly, £78 is worth about 100 euros," the AIB spokesman explained. He added that, psychologically, people’s investment in punts would be worth more in euros, although, in reality, it would be the same.
To convert an Irish punt amount into euros, the punt amount should be divided by .787564. The result should be rounded to two decimal places, in other words to the nearest cent.
For example, £1,000 would be worth 1269.738 euros. Rounding this out, a £1,000 would be equal to 1,269.74 euros.
Although the value of the Irish punt is now fixed in terms of euros, both the punt and euro continue, at present, to float on world currency markets. Consequently, the exchange rate between the euro and the dollar, for example, is subject to the whims of the marketplace.
It appears that after the launch of the new currency on Jan. 1, many people had the impression that national currencies, such as the Irish punt, were no longer in circulation. The actual euro currency is not available for purchase for another three years.
While euro notes and coins will not go on sale before Jan. 1, 2002, and will not formally replace local currencies before July 1, 2002, the euro exchange rate may be used for travelers’ check payments, credit card purchases and other non-cash transactions.
Eventually, national currencies will be phased out completely, and the euro will become the sole currency throughout Europe.
Meanwhile, as for the dollar-punt exchange rate, Allied Irish Bank, in New York, was selling the punt, on Monday, Jan. 11, at $1.5345. AIB was buying the Irish currency at $1.4037 for £1.
The bank’s exchange rate may be obtained by calling 1 (800) AIB-1234. Otherwise, it may be obtained by calling (212) 339-8000 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.