The value of euro banknotes in circulation is set to rise above legacy national notes later today, says the European Central Bank. By the end of next week, nearly all consumer cash transactions will be conducted in euro, forecasts the ECB.
Professor Eugenio Domingo Solans, member of both the governing council and the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB), declares: "Today, for the very first time, the value of euro banknotes in circulation is higher than that of national banknotes. This figure confirms the success of the euro cash changeover and is equivalent to an average of some EUR650 per citizen in the euro area."
The total value of national banknotes in circulation dropped by 4.8% yesterday, from EUR200.2 billion on 9 January to EUR190.6 billion. The relatively high value of national banknotes still in circulation is explained to a certain extent by the time required for the return of national banknotes via credit institutions to their respective national central banks, states the ECB.
More than 8 billion euro banknotes are already in circulation and the euro progress ratio - which provides an indication of the rate of substitution of national banknotes by euro banknotes and the pace of the logistics of the changeover - is expected to exceed 50% by the end of the day.
According to figures released this afternoon by the European Commission, almost 85% of cash payments are now made in euros and over two thirds of vending machines have been converted to the euro.
"The changeover is entering the home straight," states the EC.