The number of 500-euro banknotes falls to all-time lows, with 10.6 million units

MADRID, 2 Jul.

The number of 500-euro banknotes falls to all-time lows, with 10.6 million units


The number of 500-euro banknotes in circulation stood at 10.6 million in May, reaching its lowest historical figure since the euro entered circulation, according to the latest provisional data published by the Bank of Spain, which stopped issuing this type of banknote in January 2019.

The value of all 500-euro bills stood at 5,300 million euros in May, compared to more than 5,400 million euros in the previous month, which represents a fall of 1.8% in one month and a 22% compared to the figure of a year ago (6,800 million).

The governing council of the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed in early May 2016 to stop producing 500-euro notes. Pursuant to this decision, the Bank of Spain ceased issuing 500-euro banknotes from January 2019, although they will continue to be legal tender, so they can continue to circulate and be used as a means of payment and as a store of value, it is say to buy and save.

Likewise, professional sectors, such as banks, cash-in-transit companies or offices and currency exchange, among other establishments, will be able to recirculate 500-euro bills.

These notes will keep their value indefinitely and can be exchanged at the central and national banks of the euro zone at any time.

For its part, the number of 50-euro bills in circulation fell by 10 million in May, to 1,446 million units, with an amount of around 72,300 million euros.

In the case of 100-euro notes, the gap between notes distributed and notes withdrawn continued in May, after entities operating in Spain delivered more notes to the Bank of Spain than were put into circulation.

Specifically, the difference between the 100-euro bills distributed and those withdrawn in May was 172 million units, which is approximately four million more than the previous month.

In the same way, the difference between the 200 euro notes distributed and those withdrawn was seven million units in May, practically the same figure as the previous month.

This situation may be due to the fact that the country is a recipient of tourism and the possibility that tourists have brought many tickets of this type to Spain in recent years. Much of the money from tourists ends up in credit institutions, which return part of these notes to the Bank of Spain because they do not need so many to meet the liquidity needs of their clients.

Regarding the 10 and 20 euro bills, the net balance between what was distributed and returns was also negative in May. The gap was 1,712 million tickets in the first case, twelve million more than the previous month, and 2,423 million tickets in the case of 20 euros, almost 18 million more.