Eesti Pank issued 318 million euros of cash in the second quarter of 2020
The central bank issued more than 316 million euros of banknotes into circulation in the second quarter of 2020 and 1.7 million euros of coins, while 178 million euros of banknotes were returned.
The net issuance of banknotes by Eesti Pank for the quarter as a whole was 27% more numerically than in the previous quarter, but 13% less than in the second quarter of 2019. Demand was largest for 50-euro banknotes, which made up some 54% of all the banknotes issued.
Demand for cash remained stable despite the emergency situation. Increased demand for coins has been apparent since the end of the second quarter. This is a common phenomenon, as there are many open-air events and fairs in the summer where coins are needed for merchants to give as change.
The ATM network has not particularly changed in recent years, and there are 742 ATMs in operation in Estonia and 33 branch offices that offer cash services. Cash was withdrawn from ATMs on 6.1 million occasions in the second quarter of 2020, for a total value of more than 832 million euros. Cash was deposited on 1.1 million occasions in the second quarter with a value of 393 million euros.
Withdrawals of cash from shop tills increased by 35%
Withdrawing cash from shop tills has become popular as it offers a good alternative in rural areas. Cash was withdrawn from shop tills on some 60,000 occasions in the second quarter of 2020 with a total value of 2.4 million euros. The amount of cash withdrawn from shop tills was 35% more in the second quarter than in the first, which reflects the easing of the emergency situation restrictions.
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. The survey made clear that the main channel for cash is ATMs, and the amounts most commonly withdrawn are between 21 and 100 euros.
Circulation of euro coins
Eesti Pank issues coins into circulation in response to demand. In the second quarter of 2020, 6.3 million coins with a value of 1.7 million euros were issued, and 59,000 coins with a value of 49,000 euros were returned to the central bank. Of the coins issued in the second quarter, 54% were one and two-cent coins.
Exchanging Estonian kroons for cash
Eesti Pank continues to exchange Estonian kroons in notes and coins for euros. There were 123 exchange transactions in the second quarter of 2020, and some 38,000 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 33 times in the second quarter as 120 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 70 counterfeit euro banknotes in Estonia in the second quarter of 2020, the majority of which were 10 and 20-euro notes. Twelve counterfeit coins were discovered in same period. The number of counterfeits discovered in Estonia is negligible both in absolute terms and in relation to the number of genuine notes and coins issued into circulation.