ECB to decide soon on fate of 500-euro banknotes

ECB to decide soon on fate of 500-euro banknotes
Updated 11 February 2016

ECB to decide soon on fate of 500-euro banknotes

ECB to decide soon on fate of 500-euro banknotes

BERLIN: The European Central Bank will take a decision soon on whether to keep printing 500-euro banknotes, with the arguments for doing so becoming “less and less convincing,” a top-ranking official said.
“We’re actively considering the question and will take a decision shortly,” Benoit Coeure, executive board member, told the French daily Le Parisien in an interview, when asked about the future of the euro area’s largest denomination banknote.
Authorities increasingly suspected that the notes were being used for illicit purposes, “an argument we cannot ignore given the importance of fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” Coeure said.
Large denomination notes enable criminals to transport large sums of money in small volumes.
The EU Commission said earlier this month that it planned to consult with the ECB and other parties concerned to decide whether action needed to be taken regarding the 500-euro note.
“From my point of view, the arguments in favor of keeping it are less and less convincing,” Coeure said, but acknowledged that some people, “notably in Germany” were concerned about the disappearance of payments in cash.
Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said central banks’ recent struggle with deflationary forces was not finished and that getting inflation back to normal levels was a question of credibility.
“If you look at the last three decades, monetary policy waged two battles. One against very high inflation, in the 1980s, and it was a success,” Villeroy de Galhau said in an interview in French daily Le Figaro’s Wednesday edition.
“The other battle, a much more recent one, is being waged on the deflation front, and it’s not over,” Villeroy, who also sits on the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, was quoted as saying.
Villeroy said the ECB was determined to uphold its mandate to bring back inflation to below but close to 2 percent, because weak inflation made the necessary deleveraging process of European countries more painful.
Asked if there was any limit to negative interest rates, Villeroy said neither the euro zone or Switzerland had experienced negative interest rates on household and SMEs deposits so far.
“That’s maybe where the practical limit is,” he said.