Belgian supermarkets use small coin phaseout to inflate prices

The European Commission is considering a proposal to phase out 1 and 2 euro cent coins, an EU document shows, in what is being presented to the public as a cost-saving move as the coins’ production and handling costs often exceed their face value.

The Commission’s 2020 work programme, which will be presented in its entirety on Wednesday, will include a proposal for "uniform rules for rounding prices", which in turn will lead to the abolition of the copper coins over the course of 2020, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

However, in Belgium, where the move is already underway, the process of "rounding" results, somewhat predictably, only in price increases.

EUToday visited a number of retail outlets in Brussels, and found that whilst there may be a notice on the door or the cash-till advising shoppers of the move, prices displayed on the shelf do not necessarily reflect the price charged. This is something shoppers in Belgium are used to however as supermarkets in the country appear to have mastered the art of misleading pricing.

The last currency change, the introduction of the single currency in 2002, added up to 0.29 per cent to prices across the euro zone, according to Eurostat, although the official term within the European Commission was "perceived inflation."

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