When you sit down for lunch next Sunday, lift a toast to the Peseta - the final curtain falls on the Spanish currency at midnight on Thursday. The majority of people ditched the Peseta and got stuck in to life with the euro during the first two weeks of the year, but there are others who are still using the peseta, but time is running out. Consumer groups have admitted that despite the nervous run up to the end of last year and widespread fears over the euro's arrival the transition has been surprisingly sweet and the various euro campaigns successful. In fact, for many, the two month transition period was unnecessarily long. The first week of the year was fraught with problems, banks ran out of money as huge queues of customers built up day after day and the small shopkeepers were slow to acclimatise to the single currency. The main problem was that the government and banks underestimated the public's eager response to the euro, but once the initial wave of europhoria subsided, it has been business as usual. But while the peseta will no longer exist in legal tender from midnight Thursday, do not panic, banks will still exchange peseta notes until June and the bank of Spain will take pesetas indefinitely, although questions will be asked if the amount is over one million pesetas for non Spanish residents. However, there are few pesetas left in circulation. The euro information and help lines in Palma do not ring any more, the only callers being dealt with are those complaining about the “rounding up” price hikes. The OCU Consumer Union has been watching the price of 750 products across the middle of last year and on January 30 confirmed that, with the transition from the peseta to the euro, prices have risen significantly. Despite Friday's consumer price index figures, market research carried out by the various consumer organisations, has shown that prices, being rounded up, went up by 1.6 per cent last month.


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