Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Officials have mismanaged coin shortage problem

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 August, 1998, 12:00am

On April 9, in a letter to me, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said it would be minting many new coins in order to solve the coin shortage.

Since then I have been eagerly awaiting signs of these extra coins that the authority had ordered, but I have seen very few 1998 coins. Every time I go into a bank for coins the situation is the same as it was six or nine months ago, that is, it is sometimes possible to get coins, but usually they are completely out of stock.

I am not prepared to waste my time joining the early-morning coin queues and I do not see why anyone else should be forced into doing this, because of the Monetary Authority's failure to manage the situation properly.

The shopkeepers do appear to have a few more coins than they did, so the only way to get coins is never give a shopkeeper anything other than a note, so he has to give you change. However, this just forces them to hoard coins to satisfy the demand.

It is now more than a year since the handover. I think this is more than enough time for the Monetary Authority to have sorted the problem out.

How much longer do we have to wait? I notice that the authority made no promise on delivery dates for these extra coins. Authority officials will no doubt claim that the shopkeepers and collectors are hoarding coins, but they will have no need to do this if the authority fulfils its promise to mint enough of them. A total of 10 per cent of the coins in my pocket at the moment have the Queen's head on them so I do not think the collectors are still hoarding them.

Don't forget that we were short of coins even before the handover so officials need to increase supply dramatically.

Other countries do not have this problem so why should we? It is simply gross mismanagement on the part of the Monetary Authority.

E. F. CHASE Pokfulam