The European Central Bank has released its banknote counterfeiting figures for the second half of 2017, showing a slight increase compared to the previous period yet still remain low.
A total of 363,000 counterfeit notes were withdrawn during the second half of 2017, an increase of 9.7% compared with the first half of the year. When compared with the same period during 2016, the total number of counterfeits increased by 2.8%.
The majority of counterfeit notes, some 85%, were denominations of €20 and €50. Most of the notes, 97.8%, were identified in the countries using the euro, with 1.7% found in EU Member States and the remaining 0.5% located in other parts of the world.
These recent figures show a continuing reduced number of counterfeits being withdrawn, following a peak in 2015 of almost 900,000. The drop seen the following year coincides with the release of the Europa €20 banknote circulated in January 2015 – the €20 and €50 denominations are consistently the most commonly counterfeited banknotes.
The €20 banknote is seeing a small decline in counterfeits, accounting for 35.2% of all counterfeits during the second half of 2017. This is down from 36.9% during the first half of the year and 37.8% during the same period in 2016.
In contrast the €50 is seeing a rise in counterfeits, accounting for 52.5% of all counterfeit notes withdrawn during the second half of 2017 – up from 47.6% during the first half of the year and 42.5% during the same period in 2016.
However, with the release of the Europa €50 banknote in April 2017, it is expected that these figures are likely to reduce during 2018, as seen following the release of the Europa €20.
Of the other banknotes commonly used in everyday payment transactions, the figures for the €5 and €10 banknotes remain low at 1.0% and 1.8% respectively. Counterfeit banknotes of €100, €200 and €500 denominations were 6.5%, 0.8% and 2.2% respectively.
Read the ECB press release