PRESS RELEASE

Update on the euro cash changeover

11 January 2002

Almost two weeks after the introduction of the euro banknotes and coins, the cash changeover can be considered as being very successful and, from the point of view of consumers, almost complete, as it is expected that nearly all cash transactions will be processed in euro by the end of the week.

Professor Eugenio Domingo Solans, member of both the Governing Council and the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), today declared at a joint press conference organised by the Spanish Presidency in Madrid that "the euro cash changeover is a wide-ranging success, not only for all the parties involved in its preparation, but for all those Europeans who immediately adopted their new money. Not only do the euro banknotes and coins represent a means of payment, but they also reflect the new common identity of Europe all over the world". He added that "today, for the very first time, the value of euro banknotes in circulation is higher than that of national banknotes. This figure confirms the success of the euro cash changeover and is equivalent to an average of some EUR 650 per citizen in the euro area, for example. We have clearly reached a key milestone in the euro cash changeover, which marks the disappearance of the legacy currencies".

The total value of national banknotes in circulation dropped by EUR 9.6 billion (4.8%) on 10 January 2002, from EUR 200.2 billion on 9 January to EUR 190.6 billion. The relatively high value of national banknotes still in circulation is explained to a certain extent by the time required for the return of national banknotes via credit institutions to their respective national central banks.

More than 8 billion euro banknotes are already in circulation and the euro progress ratio (EPR) rose from 47.6% on 9 January to 50% on 10 January 2002. This means that on 10 January the value of euro banknotes in circulation amounted to 50% of the total value of all banknotes in circulation, including the national banknotes issued but not yet redeemed by national central banks. Today, the EPR will exceed 50%. The EPR provides an indication of the rate of substitution of national banknotes by euro banknotes and the pace of the logistics of the changeover.

The next update on the euro cash changeover will be released on Friday, 18 January 2002.

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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