NEW YORK -- The euro officially entered the marketplace on Jan. 1,
appearing strong at 1.17 to the dollar.
The new currency, which 11 European nations adopted, was
expected to finish at 1.20 to the dollar before the first week of
Experts agree that the value of the euro against the dollar will
be volatile during the coming year, as currency traders test the
sustainability of the initial excitement surrounding its debut. The
national currencies of the euro countries are now denominations of
The euro-zone countries and their currencies' fixed value
against the euro are:Austria, 13.76 schillingsBelgium, 40.33 francsFinland, 5.95 markkaaFrance, 6.56 francsGermany, 1.96 marksIreland, 0.79 puntItaly, 1,936.27 lireLuxembourg, 40.34 francsNetherlands, 2.20 guildersPortugal, 200.48 escudosSpain, 166.39 pesetas
Euro notes and coins will not appear until Jan. 1, 2002,
although payments in euros can now be made by credit/debit cards
and traveler's checks.
From Jan. 1 through July 1, 2002, both the national currencies
and the euro will be in circulation; national currencies will cease
to exist on July 2, 2002. Businesses in the euro zone can accept
payment in national currencies, the euro or both until Jan. 1,
2002, when the acceptance of euros will be come mandatory.