PRESS RELEASE

Update on the euro cash changeover

18 January 2002

Three weeks after the introduction of the euro banknotes and coins, the euro cash changeover is close to being complete for consumers. Face-to-face cash transactions in euro have been developing faster than expected, while the conversion of vending machines to accept the euro is taking place as foreseen. The total value of (euro and national) banknotes in circulation in the euro area was EUR 353.6 billion on 17 January 2002, an amount comparable with the data recorded at the same time in 2000 and 2001.

Some 8.1 billion euro banknotes are now in circulation, which is more than 90% of the estimated number of euro banknotes needed to replace the national banknotes circulating in the euro area in 2001. The value of the euro banknotes in circulation amounted to EUR 204.9 billion on 17 January 2002. The return of national currencies is accelerating. The total value of national banknotes in circulation had declined from EUR 190.6 billion on 10 January 2002 to EUR 148.7 billion on 17 January.

The euro progress ratio – EPR – reached 58% on 17 January 2002, up from 50% on 10 January. The EPR calculates the value of euro banknotes in circulation divided by the total value of euro and national banknotes in circulation. It provides an indication of the rate of substitution of national banknotes by euro banknotes. It cannot be associated with figures on the number of cash transactions in euro, which is estimated to be close to 95% in the euro area.

So far, only a limited number of amateur reproductions of euro banknotes have been found and, in most cases, retailers were able to identify them quickly. The ECB is encouraging the general public and professional cash-handlers to continue to check the authenticity of euro banknotes. The euro banknotes contain state-of-the-art security features which can easily be identified in a matter of seconds. The next update on the euro cash changeover will be released on Friday, 25 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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