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In Canada, the phase out of the penny begins

11:53 AM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
A Canadian penny is pictured on March 29, 2012 in Montreal, Canada. The Canadian government announced March 29, 2012 the withdrawal of the Canadian penny from circulation later this year, saying it costs more to produce than its face value ( US 0.01). The move will save the the government 11 million Canadian dollars annually. (Photo credit MICHEL VIATTEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
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TORONTO (AP) - Canada has begun phasing-out its penny, whose production costs have come to exceed its monetary value. 

The Royal Canadian Mint on Monday officially ended its distribution of one-cent coins to financial institutions. 

While people may still use pennies, the government has issued guidelines urging store owners to start rounding prices to the nearest nickel for cash transactions. 

Electronic purchases will still be billed to the nearest cent. New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden and others have also dropped the penny. 

Google is marking the passing of the penny with a dedicated doodle on its Canadian home page.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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