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Issuance of euro banknotes and coins

Euro banknotes are issued by the national central banks of the euro area. In France, the role falls to the Banque de France, IEDOM and IEOM. Since the introduction of the euro in 2002, nearly 19 billion banknotes have been issued in the euro area, equivalent to EUR 1,100 billion. The €20 banknote accounts for two thirds of French net issuance. Coins are issued by national mints. In France, the Banque de France puts euro coins into circulation on behalf of the French Treasury.

What does it mean to issue banknotes and coins?


Issuing banknotes and coins means making cash available to the public. A banknote (or coin) is considered to be issued when it exits the stocks of an issuing body. It then becomes a banknote (or coin) in circulation. It is withdrawn from circulation when it is deposited with an issuing body.

Fiduciary circulation

Fiduciary circulation is defined as the total euro banknotes (or coins) made available to the public by the central banks of the Eurosystem, including those held outside the euro area. It is calculated as the difference between the withdrawals (outflows) and deposits (inflows) of banknotes (or coins) at all central banks of the euro area, from the time the single currency was introduced in its fiduciary form.

The transition to the fiduciary euro in January 2002

The transition to the fiduciary euro in January 2002 made the concept of "fiduciary circulation" inapplicable at the national level. At the level of the national central banks, the difference between withdrawals (outflows) and deposits (inflows) of banknotes (or coins) since joining the euro is associated with the notion of net issuance. Due to migrations of banknotes (or coins) between the different countries of the Monetary Union, a central bank's net issuance cannot be assimilated to the number of banknotes in circulation in that country. These migrations lead each country in the zone to register negative net issuance for at least one of the seven denominations in the range (except Germany and Slovakia). In other words, these countries have registered more deposits than withdrawals of banknotes (or coins) at their central bank branches, for these denominations.

Who issues the banknotes and coins?


Responsibility for banknotes lies with the Eurosystem, which includes the European Central Bank and the national central banks of the euro area member countries. Notes are issued by the 19 central banks of the euro area. Thus, the issuance, maintenance and management of the quality of circulation of euro banknotes are among the fundamental missions of the Banque de France.


Responsibility for coins lies with the European Commission and the participating Member States (National Treasuries). Coins are issued by the 19 Member States of the euro area, as well as Vatican City, the Republic of San Marino, and the principalities of Monaco and Andorra. In France, the Treasury relies on various operators: the Paris Mint is in charge of coin production, while the Banque de France plays a logistics and consulting role. The Banque de France provides no services to individuals with respect to coins in circulation (no exchange).

How many banknotes and coins are issued?

At end-2015, 18.9 billion banknotes had been put into circulation by the national central banks of the euro area, with a face value of EUR 1,083.4 billion. The Banque de France (including the IEDOM) is the second largest contributor to the fiduciary circulation of the Eurosystem by volume, with 4.5 billion banknotes issued at end-2015, for a total of EUR 112.8 billion.

Since the introduction of the euro in 2002, the Eurosystem has expanded, with seven additional countries having adopted the single currency. The quantity of banknotes in circulation has more than doubled, and their total value has tripled.

€20 – the most used banknote in France

20€ Front side

With around 240 million units in this denomination leaving the Banque de France each month, the €20 note is the most commonly used banknote in France. It accounts for more than 60% of net French issuance by volume, compared with only 18.2% of the fiduciary circulation of the Eurosystem. The dominance of the €20 note in France is explained by the payment habits of the French, and by the dominant use of this denomination in ATMs. According to a 2012 survey of credit institutions by the Banque de France, more than one out of every two banknotes made available to the public via ATMs is a €20 note. At end-2015, the average value of a banknote withdrawn in France was EUR 24.2. At the level of the Eurosystem, the lead in circulation goes to the €50 denomination (38.8% of banknotes in circulation).

Link to the statistics section, “Analysing and forecasting”

Updated on: 01/10/2017 11:05