Venezuela has issued three denominations of their new banknote series, in response to the country’s soaring inflation.
On 16 January 2017, the Banco Central de Venezuela, the country’s central bank, began circulating the new 500, 5,000 and 20,000 bolivar banknotes.
The paper banknotes include electrotype watermarks, UV features, anti-copier line structures, micro text, windowed security thread, magnetic security features, latent images and raised intaglio tactile ink features to assist those with visual impairments to identify each note’s denomination.
The remaining notes from the new series, the 1,000, 2,000 and 10000 bolivars, will be released in due course.
The new high value notes replace the previous Venezuelan banknote series last issued in 2007, whereby the highest banknote denomination was the 100 bolivar note. However, due to soaring inflation within the country of around 500%, the currency has crashed. Stories of citizens carrying bag loads of cash to pay for their everyday items are being reported by the world’s media, due to the 100 bolivar banknote being worth just three US cents on the black market. Analysts predict that inflation in Venezuela could rise to 1,600% during 2017.
The new banknote series is a response to the economic crisis in the country by the Banco Central de Venezuela, to ease payment transactions for its citizens. However, with the new high value denomination of 20,000 bolivars valued at under US $6 on the black market, local citizens reportedly believe this is exacerbating the problem of inflation, by putting more money in the system.
In December 2016, President Nicolas Maduro announced that citizens had just three days to exchange their old 100 bolivar banknotes in a move intended to stop gangs from smuggling banknotes out of the country. This has been extended several times due to the resulting protests and looting which occurred after the announcement, with the latest date for the note’s withdrawal set for 20 February 2017. The country’s new currency denominational structure has resulted in the 100 bolivar being coined.