Local Bank To Handle Euros

Canadia Bank Ltd has become the first Cambodian bank to handle euros, the new European currency inaugurated this year.

“Now we are buying euro mo­ney, and we will be able to sell euro travelers’ checks [soon]. Later we will sell [regular] checks,” said Canadia Vice Pres­ident Phuong Khinh Hoa. The bank will also exchange euros.

The new European Union currency, which came into common use Jan 1, replaces 12 of 15 Euro­pean currencies. Britain, Den­mark and Sweden have op­ted to keep their own currencies for now.

Euro services will help Cam­bodians who do business with European companies, Phuong Khinh Hoa said. Before, depositors had to open accounts in each European country to which they wished to send money. Money would be routed through a bank in New York, where it was converted and then sent to each coun­try.

The process required three days or more. “It took time and it took money,” Phuong Khinh Hoa said. Now all money destined for euro countries will be sent to a London bank and deposited into euro country accounts in just one day.

The new currency will make life easier for travelers, said Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development. “Trav­elers will not lose money because they don’t have to exchange their currency. When you travel to five countries, for example, you do not have to carry five different currencies,” she said.

Experience using the euro may help prepare Asia for the future possibility of an all-Asian currency, Phuong Khinh Hoa said, suggesting a so-called Asian dollar would reduce the price of Asian goods because it would eliminate the need for currency exchange.

The idea was raised at a banking training course in China by the assistant governor of the People’s Bank of China.

“I support it,” Phuong Khinh Hoa said.

The primary barrier to developing a single Asian currency would be agreement between the continent’s two major economic powers, Japan and China, he said.



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