Adios to the peseta.

Balearic shop keepers were advised yesterday not to turn their backs on the peseta completely just yet. Although the peseta is no longer legal tender, Balearic Finance Minister, Joan Mesquida, recommended that stores continue to price goods in both euros and pesetas to give consumers a bit more time in getting adjusted to the new prices. Looking back over the last two months, since the euro was introduced, Mesquida, said that the introduction of the single currency in the Balearics has been a great success, but admitted that consumers are still having problems adjusting to the new prices. Director of the Balearic European Centre, Miquel Morata, said that the high level of co-operation between the various administrations and institutions helped to ensure the euro's smooth introduction. 120'000 students and 17'000 pensioners received special information about the single currency and all the awareness campaigns appear to have proven their worth. The centre's euro telephone hot line has handled 900 calls, the majority about rounding up prices. “Today, the really important work starts,” Mesquida said. “We've now got to make the euro zone prosperous.” The Minister said that the introduction of the euro accounted for 50 per cent of the rise in inflation last month, adding that there is a high level of social perception that prices have risen, “65 per cent of consumers are still not sure how much they are exactly paying when paying in euros.” “I think there has been a general rise in prices because of the euro,” but Mesquida pointed out that January is traditionally a month in which inflation rises. The Minister believes that the euro will benefit the Balearics in many ways, he said it will enable euro-zone tourists to make direct price comparison and that no longer having to change money, will mean that tourists have slightly more money in their pockets.