ECB's Draghi Says Cash Remains Essential In Eurozone Economy

Europeans continue to favor making payments in cash and more than half of transactions in value terms are made in cash, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Tuesday, citing yet-to-be-published survey data.

"Even in this digital age, cash remains essential in our economy," Draghi said while releasing the new EUR 50 banknote with enhanced security features.

"A soon-to-be-published survey on cash use, carried out on behalf of the ECB, shows that over three-quarters of all payments at points-of-sale in the euro area are made in cash."

The survey results will be made available in summer, the bank said. The survey was based on information from respondents who noted transactions at points-of-sale, such as supermarkets, shops for durable goods, bars, restaurants and street markets, covering 17 countries.

Based on a separate survey, the bank announced in January that 353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2016. Around 80 percent of the counterfeits were EUR 20 and EUR 50 banknotes, the study showed.

The new EUR 50 note carries a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology, which is visible on both sides of the note when held against the light.

The note also has an emerald number that is more resistant to counterfeiting, the bank said. It also has raised print for the visually impaired.

The ECB said the EUR 50 is the most widely used euro banknote denomination.

In May last year, the ECB ended the production and issuance of the EUR 500 banknote, on concerns that it could facilitate illicit activities.

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