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Euro banknote counterfeiting remains low in second half of 2016

by Press Release | Feb 02, 2017

Cash is trust353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2016. Around 80% of the counterfeits were €20 and €50 banknotes.All euro banknotes can be verified using the “feel, look and tilt” method.

Euro banknotes continue to be a trusted and safe means of payment.

Some 353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2016, a slight increase compared with the first half of 2016 and 20.7% fewer than in the second half of 2015, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced today. The number of counterfeits remains very low in comparison with the increasing number of genuine banknotes in circulation (over 19 billion during the second half of 2016).

The half-yearly trend is shown below:

Period 2013/2
2014/2 2014/2  2015/1  2015/2 2016/1  2016/2
 Number of counterfeits
 353,000  331,000  507,000  454,000  445,000  331,000  353,000

                    
A breakdown, by denomination, of the total number of counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2016 is provided below.

Denomination  €5  €10 €20   €50  €100   €200  €500
Percentage
breakdown
 0.8%  3.7%  37.8%  42.5%  9.7%   0.6%  4.9%
                    
During that period:
  • the €20 and €50 notes continued to be the most counterfeited banknotes. Compared with the figures for the first half of 2016, the proportion of counterfeit €20 notes increased and that of counterfeit €50 notes decreased. Together, they accounted for 80.3% of the counterfeits;
  • most (93.6%) of the counterfeits were found in euro area countries. Around 5.4% were found in EU Member States outside the euro area and 1% were found in other parts of the world.

The new €50 banknote, with its innovative security features, will be launched on 4 April 2017. Banknote equipment manufacturers and other suppliers will continue to receive support from the Eurosystem in adapting their machines and authentication devices to the new banknote. If their equipment is still unable to accept this banknote, operators/owners should contact their suppliers or manufacturers without delay.

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