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Business

Number of forged banknotes in Germany on the rise

Germany's Bundesbank has published fresh data indicating the amount of counterfeit money circulating in Germany has been on the rise. But the economic damage stemming from it has remained rather low.

Police, retailers and banks confiscated some 41,500 forged euro banknotes in Germany throughout 2012, the country's central bank revealed on Thursday. That's 6.1 percent more than in the previous year.

The Bundesbank report added that counterfeiters had increasingly been focusing on smaller denominations such as the 20-euro banknotes, meaning that despite a higher number of counterfeits, the annual economic damage stemming from them remained low at little over 2 million euros ($2.62 million).

"The counterfeit damage in 2012 was one of the lowest since the introduction of the euro currency in 2002," Bundesbank CEO Carl-Ludwig Thiele said in a statement. He added that statistically Germans' risk to encounter forged banknotes was rather low, with five counterfeit banknotes spread among every 10,000 inhabitants, while the pan-EU ratio was 15:10,000.

Enhanced security

The central bank said some 14.9 billion euro banknotes with a nominal value of 890 billion euros were in circulation in the eurozone last year, 419 billion euros of which were in Germany.

Eleven years after the introduction of the euro, the ECB - in cooperation with national central banks – is to issue safer euro banknotes of all denominations as of May this year when new 5-euro banknotes will come into circulation.

The new generation will have more sophisticated watermarks and holograms plus other additional safety features. Older banknotes are to be withdrawn gradually, while retaining their face value for a longer period yet to be specified.

hg/dr (dpa, Reuters, AFP)