PRESS RELEASE

Update on the euro cash changeover

8 January 2002

In the second week of the introduction of the euro banknotes and coins, the euro cash changeover is progressing as expected without any major hitches.

At the same time, the withdrawal of the legacy currencies is advancing rapidly. After dropping sharply in the course of 2001, from EUR 380 billion on 1 January 2001 to EUR 270 billion on 1 January 2002, the circulation of national banknotes fell an additional 18% in the first week of 2002, to EUR 220.7 billion on 7 January.

Professor Eugenio Domingo Solans, member of the Governing Council and the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), commented that "the sales season that is now under way in several countries of the euro area will further accelerate the return of national banknotes. The euro will very soon be the sole currency in citizens' pockets".

The quantities of euro banknotes and coins are sufficient to cope with the high demand which is currently prevailing. However, at the local level, some shortages of euro coins have appeared, as some consumers are hoarding significant quantities of euro coins. The ECB reminds the public to make active use of the coins contained in the euro starter kits.

For further information on the euro cash changeover, please visit the ECB's website at http://www.ecb.europa.eu and the Euro 2002 Information Campaign website at http://www.euro.ecb.int.

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