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Biannual information euro bank note counterfeiting

Biannual information euro bank note counterfeiting

13 July 2006 - Biannual information on euro banknote counterfeiting
In the first half of 2006, a total of 300,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation. The breakdown of these counterfeits by denomination is as follows:

                                                  5€    10€     20€    50€    100€   200€   500€
Breakdown by denomination (in %)     1      4       44      36      12      2        1

Until the end of last year, the €50 was always the most counterfeited banknote. However, during this half-year, there was a further rise in the proportion of counterfeits of €20 banknotes and a corresponding fall in the proportion of €50 counterfeits. The €20 has now become the most counterfeited banknote. Between January and June 2006, the €20 and the €50 together accounted for 80% of all counterfeits found in circulation. Compared with the second half of 2005 there was a slight rise in the proportion of €100 counterfeits, to 12% of the total.

The level of counterfeiting has remained stable for over two years, as the following half-yearly figures show:

Period                     Number of counterfeits
 2003/1                     231,000
 2003/2                     312,000
 2004/1                     307,000
 2004/2                     287,000
 2005/1                     293,000
 2005/2                     286,000
 2006/1                     300,000
Furthermore, these figures should be seen in the context of a gradual increase in the number of genuine banknotes in circulation (on average 10.1 billion during the first half of 2006). As noted in previous reports, the overwhelming majority (98%) of counterfeits recovered are found in euro area countries. Just over 1% came from EU Member States outside the euro area; and just under 1% came from the other parts of the world.

In combating counterfeiting, the Eurosystem cooperates very closely with Europol (which disseminates information on the seizure before circulation of counterfeit euro banknotes and coins) and the European Commission (which is responsible for providing information about counterfeit euro coins). The Eurosystem also has a good working relationship with Interpol and national police forces on law enforcement matters. Anyone who suspects they may have received a counterfeit should contact either the police or – where national practice allows – the respective national central bank, giving as many details as possible about where the banknote originated.

Source of information: European Central Bank



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