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Coin shortage latest impact from COVID-19, ENC seeing impact

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 8:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2020 at 10:30 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) - A coin shortage that the United States Federal Reserve warned in June that the country would be facing is being felt in the east.

The McDonald’s restaurant in Washington is one location where we saw signs to either use credit or exact change and that “Due to national coin shortage rounded change may be given.”

McDonald's accepting credit or exact change
McDonald's accepting credit or exact change(WITN)

The Federal Reserve says, “The COVID‐19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees. Federal Reserve coin orders from depository institutions have begun to increase as regions reopen, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory being reduced to below normal levels. While the U.S. Mint is the issuing authority for coin, the Federal Reserve manages coin inventory and its distribution to depository institutions through Reserve Bank cash operations and offsite locations across the country operated by Federal Reserve vendors.”

The Federal Reserve says it is working on several fronts to mitigate the effects of low coin inventories. This includes managing the allocation of existing Fed inventories, working with the Mint, as issuing authority, to minimize coin supply constraints and maximize coin production capacity, and encouraging depository institutions to order only the coin they need to meet near‐term customer demand.

Depository institutions also can help replenish inventories by removing barriers to consumer deposits of loose and rolled coins.

Although the Federal Reserve is confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns, they say they recognize that these measures alone will not be enough to resolve near‐term issues.

Effective June 15, the Federal Reserve Banks and their coin distribution locations began to allocate available supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure. Order limits are unique by coin denomination and are the same across all Federal Reserve coin distribution locations.

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