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Press release of Banco de Portugal on the 2016 Report on Cash Issuance

Banco de Portugal releases today the Report on Cash Issuance for 2016. This report describes the Bank’s activities related to the issuance of banknotes and coins and presents the most relevant cash indicators in 2016.

At the end of 2016 the value of banknotes deposited with Banco de Portugal since the introduction of the euro exceeded by €12 billion the value of banknotes withdrawn, in line with developments in tourism. The €20 banknote continued to be the favourite of the Portuguese.

In 2016 Banco de Portugal produced 108 million €50 banknotes of the Europa series via the Valora S.A. printing works; 96 million were allocated to other Eurosystem national central banks. For the first time since it was fully held by Banco de Portugal, the Portuguese printing works produced banknotes for non-euro area countries.

€10,570 million in banknotes were withdrawn from Banco de Portugal (€102 million less than in 2015) and €12,152 million were deposited (€293 million less). Coin withdrawals exceeded deposits: €45 million in coins were withdrawn from the central bank (€5 million more than in the previous year) and €8 million were deposited (€15 million less).

The €20 banknote and the €1 coin were, once again, the most representative in Portugal, totalling in value 54.3% of banknote withdrawals and 53.2% of coin withdrawals from Banco de Portugal respectively.

Reflecting the European Central Bank’s decision to discontinue production of the €500 banknote, in 2016 Banco de Portugal received €145 million more banknotes of this denomination. By contrast, €100 and €200 banknote deposits declined. Notwithstanding the ECB’s decision, the €500 banknote remains legal tender and can therefore continue to be used as a means of payment with no restrictions. 

At the end of the year the cumulative value of banknotes deposited with Banco de Portugal since the introduction of the euro in 2002 exceeded by €12 billion the value of banknotes withdrawn (€10 billion in 2015). Deposits exceed withdrawals since 2010, to a large extent reflecting inflows to the country of higher denomination banknotes from other euro area Member States, which, not being absorbed by demand, are eventually deposited with the central bank. This is the case, in particular, with the €50 banknote.

In Portugal the share of counterfeit banknotes and coins is negligible. However, it is important to recognise genuine banknotes and coins: counterfeits cannot be exchanged for genuine banknotes or coins, even if they have been accepted by mistake.

In 2016 Banco de Portugal checked the authenticity and fitness of 628 million banknotes and 45 million coins. It destroyed 192 million banknotes for not being fit for return to circulation and verified 463 thousand unfit coins, which will be sent to the Portuguese Mint for destruction.

Credit institutions and cash-in-transit companies processed 3,083 million banknotes, i.e. 4.9 times more banknotes than Banco de Portugal. To ensure compliance with the rules in cash authenticity and fitness checking, the Bank conducted 536 inspections of those entities. 

In Portugal the identified counterfeits continued to be negligible. In 2016, 7,710 counterfeit banknotes and 4,454 counterfeit coins were withdrawn from circulation. The €20 and €50 denominations and the €2 coin continued to be the most counterfeited.

In 2016 Banco de Portugal exchanged escudo banknotes to the amount of €1.1 million. At the end of the year escudo banknotes to be withdrawn from circulation totalled €154.7 million.

In 2016 Banco de Portugal exchanged 73,018 escudo banknotes, to a total amount of €1.1 million. At the end of the year 19.6 million banknotes had still not been withdrawn, corresponding to €154.7 million; one-third of this value corresponded to 5,000 escudo banknotes.

There are still escudo banknotes that can be exchanged for euros up to the business day prior to the expiry of the time limit for exchange. For expiry dates, please visit Banco de Portugal’s website at (in Portuguese only).