Money, credit and central bank interest rates is a digital
publication produced by European Central Bank and the
national central banks of the Eurosystem. The publication
aims to make it easier to understand, use and compare euro
area and national statistics. It presents the statistics
visually, uses reader-friendly terms, is digitally
reusable via the embed function and is available in 23 EU
The data are updated in real time and available from the
Statistical Data Warehouse.
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The European System of Central Banks (ESCB) is committed
to providing its statistics free of charge as a public
good of high quality irrespective of any subsequent
commercial or non-commercial use. All publicly available
ESCB statistics may be reused free of charge on the
condition that the source is quoted (e.g. “Source: euro
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Nationale Bank van België/Banque Nationale de
Central Bank of Ireland
Bank of Greece
Banco de España
Banque de France
Central Bank of Cyprus
Banque centrale du Luxembourg
Bank Ċentrali ta’ Malta/CentralBank of Malta
De Nederlandsche Bank
Banco de Portugal
Národná banka Slovenska
Suomen Pankki – Finlands Bank
When we think of money, we generally think of cash in our
wallet, the balance of our bank account or the payments we
make. But what does money do in the economy, and what does
money mean for central banks?
Money serves three different functions in the economy: (1)
it is a medium of exchange with a value that is trusted by
everyone, (2) it is a unit of account that enables prices
to be set for goods and services, and (3) it is a store of
value that can be saved for later use.
In central bank statistics, broadly speaking, money is
composed of cash in circulation and deposits.
The next two sections provide a brief explanation of cash
and deposits and present related statistics produced by
the ECB. The third section describes how the ECB measures
the amount of money in the euro area economy using
The most basic and intuitive form of money is cash –
banknotes and coins.
The nature of cash has evolved over time. In the early
days, it usually took the form of commodity money – an
object made from something that had its own market value,
such as coins made from gold. Later, commodity money was
replaced by representative money, such as banknotes, that
could be swapped for a certain fixed amount of gold or
silver. Modern economies, including the euro area, are
based on fiat money. This is money that is declared legal
tender and issued by a central bank. Rather than relying
on a substance or commodity, such as gold, to provide its
underlying value, fiat money is widely accepted because
people trust the central bank to keep the value of money
stable over time.
The legal tender of the euro area is the euro. More than
342 million people use it as the single currency in the 19
EU Member States comprising the euro area. This makes the
euro a tangible symbol of European integration.
Legally, euro banknotes are issued by the Eurosystem,
which is made up of the European Central Bank (ECB) and
the national central banks of the euro area countries. In
practice, however, it is only the national central banks
that actually issue euro banknotes and withdraw them from
circulation. The ECB does not have a cash office. The
legal issuers of euro coins are the national governments
of euro area countries.
After they have been issued, banknotes enter into
circulation by being supplied over the counter by banks or
via cash dispensers. Unless they are kept as a store of
value, they are used for payments, returned to banks and
recirculated until they become unfit (damaged or worn), at
which point they are withdrawn from circulation by the
national central banks.
Further information about euro banknotes and coins is
available in the euro section of the ECB’s
Statistics about euro banknote and coin circulation
are produced on a monthly basis and can be found in the
ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse.
Low and medium-value notes (€5, €10, €20 and €50) are
mostly used for day-to-day payments. Higher denominations
(€100 and €200 – as well as €500 banknotes which are no
longer issued but remain valid legal tender) are mainly
used for expensive purchases and kept as a store of value.
The total number of banknotes in circulation stood at
[Value 1] billion with an overall value of €[Value
2] trillion in [Date 1]. The number of euro
coins in circulation totalled [Value 3] billion and their
overall value was €[Value 4] billion.
Click to enlarge and for breakdowns