In value terms, approximately 25% of all euro banknotes are estimated to be held outside the euro area. The euro can be used as a reserve currency (as part of a country’s foreign exchange reserves), for saving purposes (hoarding of hard currency, especially during crises), as a means of payment in trade (for exports or imports) or for exchange rate anchoring (some countries peg their currencies to the euro).
The euro was introduced in 1999. Over the years it has become the single currency of 19 out of 28 Member States making up the European Union. This currency area is known as the euro area. Within the Eurosystem, over 340 million citizens use the euro on a daily basis to make or receive payments in exchange for goods and services or as a store for savings purposes or to invest. However, the use of the euro is not limited to the euro area and extends beyond its borders.
The European Central Bank estimates that around 25% of the value of euro banknotes is currently held outside the euro area. In this respect, at end-December 2015, the value of banknotes in circulation outside the euro area was at least € 177 billion (see chart below), representing 16% of the total value of euro banknotes in circulation in the euro area. Net outflows of banknotes to outside the euro area by major international banks operating on currency markets represent the low end of the estimate of euro in circulation outside its borders. Indeed, they do not include the other channels of net outflows, such as tourism, migrant workers' remittances or the informal economy.
The main international uses of the euro are :
Each year, the European Central Bank publishes a report on the international role of the euro. The latest version, published online in June 2016 provides statistics for 2015 and early 2016 :
Updated on: 01/10/2017 11:54