(Panama Digest) The Ministry of Finance will issue 40 million one balboa coins, each equivalent to the value of one U.S. dollar bill.
The new currency will be distributed by the National Bank of Panama to all Panama banks come late May. The coin, which is a bit larger than a 25-cent piece, has a gold center with an image of Vasco Nunez de Balboa surrounded by a silver ring.
“The life cycle assessment of the currency and paper bills has proven that coins are better for the environment than the bill,” Minister of Economy and Finance Alberto Vallarino offered by way of explanation. “The economy also favors the use of coins,because their shelf life is longer and they can be recycled.”
The new dollar coins, which cost about $10 million to produce with the Royal Canadian mint, will be interchangeable with U.S. dollar bills and will not affect the country’s dollar economy, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance website.