Central bank: Coins in circulation in Estonia up by 55 percent in Q2 2023

Bank of Estonia building in Tallinn.
Bank of Estonia building in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The volume of coins in circulation in Estonia grew by 55 percent between the first and second quarter (Q2 2023) of this year, the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) says.

The central bank issued into circulation 7.3 million coins, with a total value of €3.1 million, in Q2 2023.

Almost half of the coins issued by the central bank in Q2 2023 were one and two-cent coin, totaling €3.5 million in value and making up 48 percent of all issued coins (the other denominations being 5-cent, 10-cent, 20-cent, 50-cent and one and two euros.

The high volume of issue of these is mostly due to their common use in change given by stores, but much rarer re-use by customers, due their low nominal value – the phenomenon has been a recurring one for years.

This means that one- and two-cent coins generally do not return into circulation. At the same time, their production and handling costs as well as the environmental impact are disproportionately large compared to their role in the cash cycle, the central bank says.

The Q2 rise was predicted, since more coins are needed due to the many concerts, fairs, trade shows and other summer events – again, mostly for traders to give in change.

The central bank has for this reason proposed introducing rounding up, or down, as a rule – so cash payments would see the final total price rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents.

Q2 2023 cash quick facts (Source: Bank of Estonia):

  • Coins in circulation with a total value of €1.5 million were returned to the Bank of Estonia, 42 percent lower than in Q1 2023. Among these were 300,000 one and two-cent coins.
  • The central bank issued 9.2 million banknotes into circulation with a total value of €306 million.
  • Year-on-year, the number of banknotes issued rose by 26 percent. Half of those banknotes issued were 50-euro denomination.
  • 6.5 million banknotes with a total value of €241 million were returned to the Bank of Estonia, while 1.7 million of bills that were deemed unfit for circulation were destroyed; the remainder were returned to circulation.
  • 6.4 million ATM cash withdrawals were made, to a total value of €997 million.  This represented a 13-percent rise on the preceding quarter.
  • Cash deposits of €535.7 million were made in the second quarter, 10 percent more than in the previous quarter.
  • There are currently 668 ATMs in Estonia, of which 255 accept cash depositing. Additionally, around 800 store cash registers across Estonia have cooperation agreements in place which permit cash withdrawals.
  • 175 cash exchange transactions with Kroons took place in the quarter, to a total of €29,700.
  • There is still an estimated €43.8 million-worth of Kroons, phased out as legal tender on January 1, 2011, out there which can still be exchanged during business hours at the Bank of Estonia for euros if in adequate condition. Damaged euros can also be exchanged.
  • The Estonian Forensic Science Institute registered 62 counterfeit euro bills, mostly the 10 and 50-euro denominations.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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