The Bank of Spain stopped issuing, this Sunday, 500 euro notes, in application of a decision taken in 2016 by the European Central Bank (ECB), and began its withdrawal. This denomination will nevertheless remain legal, that is to say that it will be able to continue circulating and being used as means of payment and deposit of value, without time limits, until it reaches the hands of a central bank of the euro zone. Likewise, professional sectors, such as banks or currency exchange offices, will be able to put them back into circulation.
According to the latest figures from the Bank of Spain, the number of 500 euros banknotes put into circulation last November in the country reached 31 million, one million less than the previous month, standing at the same level as February 2003. Of this Thus, the amount of all the 500 euro banknotes stood at 15,500 million euros.
The ECB decided to put an end to the distribution of this denomination by used in money laundering operations and illegal activities such as drug trafficking or terrorism. Now there are about 521 million tickets of 500 worldwide, according to the entity. This figure is equivalent to 2.4% of the total euro banknotes in circulation, and its value represents 21.7% of the accumulated value in cash, 260,500 million euros.
The decision to stop issuing the 500 euro notes, known as bin Laden -Because everyone has heard about them but nobody has seen them-, it was not well received in all the countries of the euro zone. Germany, for example, opposed the measure. The Governor of the Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, went so far as to say that the disappearance of this denomination would not have many effects in the fight against organized crime, but it would "damage the trust" in the single currency.
It is so that the ECB has established that the Federal Bank of Germany and the National Bank of Austria, both critical of the measure, continue to reintroduce the 500 euro notes in the market until April 26, 2019, to ensure a "A harmonious transition and for logistical reasons".