Why U.S. coins seem scarce
In recent months, you might not have seen as much loose change as before the coronavirus pandemic.
Business and bank closures associated with the pandemic have significantly disrupted the supply chain and circulation patterns for U.S. coins, even though there isn’t a “shortage.” Here’s a look at the situation and the ongoing efforts to address it.
The slowed pace of circulation has reduced available inventories in some areas of the country. Many have referred to this as a shortage; however, it is not. There is more than $40 billion in coin already in circulation, most of which is inside American households.
In June a temporary cap was imposed on orders that depository institutions place for coins with the Federal Reserve to ensure that the current supply is distributed. In addition, the Fed and industry partners formed the U.S. Coin Task Force in July to address disruptions to coin circulation. The group has released its initial recommendations online.
Since mid-June, the Mint has been operating at full capacity. The Mint is on track to produce 1.65 billion coins per month for the rest of 2020.