Eesti Pank issued 208 million euros of cash in the first quarter of 2020
The central bank issued more than 205 million euros of banknotes into circulation in the first quarter of this year and 2.9 million euros of coins, while 103 million euros in banknotes were returned. Demand for cash from Eesti Pank increased sharply when the emergency situation was declared on 12 March, but it had stabilised to its usual level by a week later.
The net issuance of banknotes by Eesti Pank for the quarter increased by 16% in terms of number of banknotes from the previous quarter. Demand was largest for 50-euro banknotes, which made up some 56% of all the banknotes issued.
Seven million withdrawal transactions were made from ATMs in the first quarter of 2020 for a total value of more than 928 million euros. Deposits of 451 million euros were made into ATMs in the first quarter of 2020 in 1.3 million transactions.
Withdrawing cash from shop tills has become increasingly popular
Withdrawing cash from shop tills has become popular as it offers a good alternative for people who live in rural areas. Cash was withdrawn from shop tills on some 36,000 occasions in the first quarter of 2020 with a total value of 1.5 million euros.
Service volumes were lower than in the previous quarter as people moved around less. The survey of payment behaviour carried out at the end of 2019 found that the accessibility of cash has improved in the past two years.
Cash withdrawals from shop tills and from bank offices are both used by 4% of residents of Estonia. Statistics show that around 1% of the cash withdrawn is taken from shop tills, but this share is increasing.
The ATM network has not particularly changed in recent years, and there are 744 ATMs in operation in Estonia.
Circulation of euro coins
Eesti Pank issues coins into circulation on the basis of demand. In the first quarter of 2020, 4.2 million coins with a value of 2.9 million euros were issued, and 0.6 million coins with a value of 0.8 million euros were returned to the central bank. Of the coins issued in the first quarter, 42% were one and two-cent coins. Eesti Pank issued two commemorative coins in the first quarter, one for the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica, and one for the centenary of the Tartu Peace Treaty.
Exchanging Estonian kroons for euros
Eesti Pank continues to exchange Estonian kroons banknotes and coins for euros. There were 279 exchange transactions in the first quarter of 2020, and some 65,000 euros of kroons were exchanged. There are still 28.5 million banknotes and 320 million coins that have not been returned from circulation, with a total value of 44.5 million euros. Some part of the kroons cash that was in circulation has been permanently lost over the years or has been destroyed, but the facility for exchanging kroons for euros remains open.
Expert cash analysis at Eesti Pank
Eesti Pank exchanges damaged euro banknotes and coins. Expert analysis was carried out 45 times in the first quarter as 590 banknotes were examined for authenticity and were classed as damaged notes. Banknotes are exchanged when more than 50% of them remains. Damaged banknotes are removed from circulation and are destroyed.
The Estonian Forensic Science Institute registered 157 counterfeit euro banknotes in Estonia in the first quarter of 2020, the majority of which were 20 and 50-euro notes. There were also 51 counterfeit coins discovered in the quarter. The number of counterfeits discovered in Estonia is marginal both in absolute terms and in relation to the number of genuine notes and coins issued into circulation,