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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New notes in full circulation by April

New notes in full circulation by April

C ABODIA'S long-awaited new banknotes are about to begin being introduced to

civil servants pay checks. The hope is that the new notes will end the need to

carry foreign currency or wads of riel notes.

Sven new noted-in 1000,

2000, 5000,10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 denominations-are to be fully

distributed by mid-April, according to the National Bank of Cambodia.

New

coins will also eventually replace the current 50, 100, 200 and 500 riel

banknotes.

Bank governmenr Thor Peng Liet said the new, higher value

notes would reduce the use of foreign currencies or gold by both foreigners and

many Khmers.

"[Now] they need a sack of riel if they want to settle a

bill for ten people in a restaurant."

Thor Peng Liet believed the new

riel notes-which bear both a watermark ant a metallic strip-would be less easy

to counterfeit than United States and Thai currencies in wide use in

Cambodia.

He hoped that the use of foreign money in the private sector

would be phased out, though it would still be used by firms buying goods from

overseas.

The bank was keen to publicize the new notes-and the fact that

the old ones would remain legal tender as they were gradually withdrawn-to avoid

anyone being cheated. Thor peng Liet was concerned that some people,

particularly in the provinces, would be conned into believing the old notes were

worthless.

The new notes, printed in France, have been expected since

October but their introduction was delayed for what was described as a "double

check" of them.

They will eventually replace some 180 billion riel worth

of the old notes currently in circulation.

The 100,000 riel

note-equivalent to US$38-features portraits of King Sihanouk and Queen Monineath

Sihanouk.

All but two of the other notes feature the king.

Thor Peng Liet said the bank had not decided when to distribute the new

stainless steel coins, minted in France.

He hoped that Cambodia would soon see the introduction of coin operated

machines, which would make the new coins essential.

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