Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Euros in Circulation

Financial Times' Ralph Atkins reports from Frankfurt (home of ECB) that there are now more euors in circulation than dollars.

Banknote holdings per person are almost twice as high in the 13-country eurozone as in the US, the study shows, while eurozone citizens typically withdraw 50 per cent more each time they use a cash machine.

Net shipments of euro notes to outside the eurozone are declining, says the report. Only 10-15 per cent of euros in circulation are held abroad. About 60 per cent of US dollars in circulation are held overseas.

One explanation for Europe's cash addiction could be that the use of payment cards is less developed in many eurozone states than in the US. The ECB believes low inflation and interest rates have increased the attraction of holding cash, while euros are available in higher-denomination notes than dollars. Demand for €500 ($674, £337) notes has shown a particular rise.

Excluding notes held abroad, per capita holdings in the US were worth the equivalent of about €870. For the eurozone, the figure was more than €1,600.

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