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Cash News: March 24-April 4

Categories : Cash is a symbol of national sovereignty, Innovation contributes to the efficiency of cash
April 6, 2022
Tags : Access to cash, Banknote production, Innovation, National sovereignty
Elsewhere on the Web provides weekly updates and links to articles related to cash and money, curated on the web. Last week, several articles raised the question of banknote sourcing and sovereignty, and The New Statesman reviewed how innovation can improve access to cash.
Guillaume Lepecq

Chair, CashEssentials

This post is also available in: Spanish

Banknote Production and Sovereignty

A Deutsche Welle article, also referenced by, examines why most African countries import their banknotes from Europe decades after their independence. “More than two-thirds of Africa’s 54 countries print their money overseas, mostly in Europe and in North America. It comes when the African Union is trying to usher in a golden, made-in-Africa age that should see Africa beef up production and enjoy greater profits. Printing banknotes in Africa would boost profits on the continent and, at least theoretically, African countries could choose those with printing capabilities since there’s likely some idle capacity,” says DW.

The Star of Mysore and Devdiscourse report that the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India has opened Varnika, a new ink manufacturing unit in Mysore that aims at ensuring cost-efficiency and self-sufficiency in banknote production in line with the “Make in India” initiative. “This is in line with India’s march towards achieving complete self-reliance to commence manufacturing of all critical and key raw materials used in printing banknotes,” said the Governor.

The Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) reports that banknote paper is expected to be delivered by plane to Myanmar. The new materials are being sourced from Uzbekistan, according to the article. Giesecke and Devrient, the previous substrate supplier, halted deliveries following the June 2021 military coup.

Cash Demand

The Times of India analysed why cash in circulation hit an all-time high in March 2022, despite the surge in digital payments. In March 2022, cash in circulation grew 9.2% year-on-year. The number of ATMs also experienced steady growth with 252,000 cash dispensers in January 2022 and 640,000 micro-ATMs – Point-of-Sale devices, which enable retailers to offer cash services. “Consumer behaviour suggests that during situations like a pandemic or during festival months, cash has always been preferred. While digital transactions continue to surge, cash remains an equal catalyst in bridging the financial divide and driving empowerment for the masses,” said Rustom Irani, Managing Director of Hitachi Payment Services.

USA Today reports that the United States faces a shortage of coins again, leading trade associations representing small businesses, retailers, and others to write a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stressing that the “consequences of a coin circulation slowdown fall hardest on consumers that do not have the ability to pay electronically. If retailers are not able to offer change for cash purchases, consumers who rely on cash will be vulnerable.”

Cash Innovations

The New Statesman analyses how the shift to online banking and the closure of ATMs and branches financially excludes vulnerable people in the United Kingdom. The author stresses that this need not be the case and lists a series of innovations that could ensure continued access to cash. This includes:

New Banknotes

The Bank of Albania issued the last two denominations of the new banknote series  (500 Lekë and 2000 Lekë) on 17 January 2022, says Kurz.

Fiji has unveiled its latest $7 commemorative circulation banknote, celebrating Fiji’s Rugby 7s gold and bronze medal wins at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. It follows the renowned initial $7 commemorative banknote issued in 2017 following the Rio Olympics. The commemorative banknote is legal tender and will be issued into circulation. Given its special commemorative nature and the limited number produced, it is expected to be of value as collectors’ items both locally and abroad.

The Casa de Moneda of Chile, the country’s coin and banknote manufacturer, presented a polymer note honoring its 279th anniversary at the High-Security Printing Latin America 2022 conference in Mexico City from March 14 to 16, showcasing its capacity to print high-security banknotes for other countries in the region and the world, reports Coinworld.

GlasgowLive announces that a new Bank of Scotland £100 note will circulate next month, featuring Dr. Flora Murray, medical pioneer, suffragette, and feminist.

The Bank of Thailand launched a new 20 Baht polymer – and not polyester as reported by Thaiger –  banknote on 24 March. The Bank of Thailand expects the new banknote to be cleaner and more durable than the paper counterpart, remaining legal tender.

The Jamaica Observer reports that the central bank recommends upgrading the current banknote series to the government. Several reasons are cited for the upgrade: reducing production costs and counterfeiting, adding features for the visually impaired, and reviewing the denomination mix.

The complete list of articles is available here.

This post is also available in: Spanish