Drop in euro forgeries in second half of 2015: ECB


Frankfurt (AFP)

The number of counterfeit euro banknotes withdrawn from circulation decreased in the second half of 2015, the European Central Bank said on Friday.

A total of 445,000 fake banknotes were removed from circulation in the period from July to September, a drop of two percent from the first half of 2015, and 12 percent fewer than in the second half of 2014, the Frankfurt-based institution said in its twice-yearly counterfeits survey.

"The number of counterfeits remains very low in comparison with the increasing number of genuine banknotes in circulation -- over 18 billion during the second half of 2015," the ECB said.

The 20-euro banknotes accounted for nearly half of the total number of forgeries at 46.2 percent, the ECB found.

They were followed by the 50-euro banknotes, which accounted for 37.1 percent and the 100-euro notes which made up 10.1 percent of the total.

The ECB is currently in the process of issuing new banknotes with enhanced security features to foil counterfeiters.

The five-euro and 10-euro bills have already been launched and the new 20-euro note came into circulation in November.

The new 50-euro bill is set to go into circulation in the second quarter of 2017.