Bank of Estonia placed €227 million in bills into circulation in Q1 2023

The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) building in Tallinn.
The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) building in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) issued 6.4 million banknotes in the first quarter of 2023 (Q1 2023), totaling €227 million in value, the bank says, a rise of 11 percent on the preceding quarter. A further €2 million in coins was also released into circulation.

Over half of the new notes were the €50 denomination.

Q1 2023 banknote quick facts (source: Bank of Estonia)

  • 6.1 million banknotes with a total value of €214 million were returned to the bank; the €50 denomination accounted for 37 percent of the total.
  • 1.2 million banknotes were destroyed due to being unfit for circulation, the remainder were re-released into the money supply.
  • 4.7 million coins with a total value of €1.9 million were issued, 45 percent of which were €0.01 and €0.02 denomination coins. These tend to be in short supply as, while often given as loose change by stores, recipients tend not to re-spend this shrapnel.
  • Commercial banks in Estonia returned 2.6 million coins with a total value of €1.7 million.
  • Cash was withdrawn from ATMs on 5.5 million occasions, to a total value of €883.8 million, unchanged on year.
  • There are currently 664 ATMs operational across Estonia, of which 248 accept cash depositing, while around 700 stores have agreements in place to permit cash withdrawals.

While Estonia's former currency, the Eesti Kroon (EEK), was the sole legal tender in Estonia from summer 1992 to New Year's Eve 2011, when Estonia went on the euro, many people return old EEK notes to banks even now.

Q1 2023 saw 216 such transactions, totaling €37,191, while there are still an estimated 28.4 million EEK banknotes, worth €37 million, out there, plus around €6.7 million-worth of EEK coins.

Natural wastage of paper notes means this volume will slowly fall in any case.

Over 12,000 notes were examined for damage during Q1 2023, also.

Under a scheme in place in the first two months of this year, Croatian kuna notes could also be exchanged at the Bank of Estonia, for euros – as Croatia joined the eurozone at the start of 2023.

36,155 Croatian kunas were exchanged across 24 transactions, to a total value of €4,798. The returned kunas were sent to Croatia's central bank.

Forty-four counterfeit euro banknotes, mostly €10 and €50 denominations, plus 31 counterfeit euro coins, were identified in Q1 2023.

More information on returning EEK notes and coins and submitting damaged notes for analysis is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Bank of Estonia

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