Washington (AFP) - The flow of coins through the US economy is the latest victim of the coronavirus pandemic and now the government is asking people to spare a little change to balance out the supply.
Virus restrictions have meant stores doing less business and thus fewer coins are being spent, bunching up the normal flow of quarters, dimes and nickels.
"The problem is the circulation kind of stopped because stores were closed, banks were closed," Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told journalists on Wednesday.
As a result the government has asked people to start parting with their change either by spending it or cashing it in at banks.
It noted that the lopsided flow is a problem because not everyone pays with bank cards or other touch-less options that have surged as people tried to keep their hands clean during the outbreak.
"For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment and cash transactions rely on coins to make change," the United States Mint coin-maker said last week.
The Mint said it is track to make 1.6 billion coins a month until the end of the year, a boost over its average production of one billion per month.
"The coin supply problem can be solved with each of us doing our part," it added.
Powell also said the government has created a "coin task force" to tackle the problem.