According to data from the Banque de France, euro currency demand is experiencing an upward trend. In 2017, note printing in France increased by 7.6% compared to 2016 while demand for the euro across the globe is up 4% from the previous year; the same goes for euro coins.
This could seem like a paradox considering the significant growth of alternative payment methods in across the board, and in France in particular where cards are by far the most popular tool to settle a bill (67% growth in the past 10 years). Contactless payments are also gaining ground in France, particularly for proximity and low-value purchases.
The consistent growth in demand for the euro can be explained by cash’s comparatively more versatile role (means of exchange and store of value) as well as for the common currency’s international appeal and general stability.
Store of value plays an important role in the equation. According to a study carried out in 2016 by the ECB “The use of cash by households in the euro area”, one out of four Europeans has some euros stashed away at home. Unfortunately, the volume of euros in circulation in France alone cannot be established because of the free circulation of currency within the Eurozone.
The French have a clear preference for smaller denomination notes, according to the central bank, amounting to an average of 24.7 per withdrawal, which is less the than the Eurozone average of 31.6. Data from French commercial banks shows that ATMs are largely fed 20 euro notes (39%), followed by 10 euro notes (36%) while the 50 euro only represents 24%. The 5 and the 100 euro notes are the least popular and are very rarely available for withdrawal at a cash machine.