Lowest number of €500 notes in circulation since 2002

Keeping cash 'under the mattress' to avoid declaring it. image: wikimedia

THE number of €500 notes in circulation was reported in January this year to be 17.98 million, the lowest since February 2002.

According to the Bank of Spain, if we took all the €500 notes in circulation in January, the total of them all would amount to €8.9 billion, which is 1.4 per cent less than the previous month and 15.7 per cent less than a year earlier.

The European Central Bank agreed in May 2016 to stop producing €500 notes and they stopped being issued by the Bank of Spain in January 2019. However, they are still legal and in circulation, so they can be used both as payment and put into savings accounts. They will maintain their value indefinitely.

The number of €50 notes is down to 1.35 billion, while there are currently more €100 notes in Spain than the Bank of Spain initially put into circulation. This is thought to be due to the fact that Spain attracts a large number of tourists who mainly used €100 notes on their holidays.


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Written by

Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.

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