Decline in counterfeit banknotes


The number of counterfeit euro banknotes seized last year fell by 12.7 per cent, according to new data from the European Central Bank.

The ECB said 751,000 notes were withdrawn from circulation during 2010, of which 364,102 were seized during the second half of the year.

In 2009, some 860,000 notes were withdrawn, compared to 666,000 in 2008 and 561,000 the previous year.

The bank said the proportion of counterfeit notes remains very low, given that there was an average of 13.6 billion notes in circulation in the final six months of 2010.

The €20 and €50 denominations continue to be the most counterfeited banknotes, accounting for 81.5 per cent of all seizures.

During the second half of 2010, the share of counterfeit €20 banknotes decreased while the share of €50 banknotes increased.

The €100 banknote is the third most counterfeited denomination at 13.5 per cent of the total.

The share of the other denominations (€5, €10, €200 and €500) is very low.

Not surprisingly, more than 97 per cent of counterfeit notes recovered during 2010 were found in euro zone countries.