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News - Media Releases 2015

29/01/2015

Bi-annual information on euro banknote counterfeiting in Malta

There was a 14.5% decrease in the number of counterfeit euro banknotes reported to the Central Bank of Malta in 2014 as compared to 2013. However, there was an increase of 13.3% in the second half of the year compared with the same period last year. At 990 pieces the overall quantity of counterfeits withdrawn from circulation was 116 pieces higher than the aggregate figure withdrawn in the same period last year, although significantly less than the record experienced in the second half of 2010.

Half-yearly and annual data of counterfeit notes withdrawn from circulation in Malta since the adoption of the euro in 2008 are shown in Table 1 below. 

Table 1

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

 

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

H1

H2

Number of Counterfeits

642

903

798

520

760

1663

484

1059

951

713

877

874

507

990

1,545

1,318

2,423

1,543

1,664

1,751

1,497

When compared with the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation in Malta (slightly above 12.62 million, on average, for the second half of 2014), the proportion of euro counterfeits remains insignificant. It is also very low (0.20%) as a proportion of the total number of counterfeits seized in the euro area as a whole over the same period. According to the European Central Bank's press release issued on Friday 23 January, these amounted to 507,000 pieces.

Of all the fake euro banknotes seized in Malta over the second half of the year, the €20 denomination continues to be the most counterfeited note with 59.4% of all counterfeits seized, practically the same percentage that was recorded in the previous six months. During this period, the share of the €50 and €100 denomination continued to fall. Meanwhile, a substantial increase was noted in the €10 denomination, amounting to 14.7% compared to the previous share of 2.4%, possibly the result of counterfeits being disposed of prior to the launch of the second series of the €10 note.

Table 2 below provides a percentage breakdown by denomination, of the total number of counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2014 compared to those withdrawn in the euro area as a whole.

Table 2

 

 

€5

€10

€20

€50

€100

€200

€500

Percentage Breakdown

Euro Area

1.0

3.0

60.0

26.0

8.0

1.5

0.5

Malta

1.4

14.7

59.4

8.3

15.8

0.4

0.0

Notwithstanding the low figures of counterfeits reported locally, the Central Bank of Malta continues to advise the public to remain alert with regard to the banknotes received in cash transactions. Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple "FEEL-LOOK-TILT" test, which is described on the Bank's website. The Bank is available to provide any support, including training to any local entities which may require such assistance. Additionally in order to support the general public in the recognition of suspect counterfeit currency, the Bank will be issuing shortly a publication highlighting the main security features of genuine euro currency.

Anyone who receives a suspect note should contact either the Police on 2122 4001 or the Central Bank of Malta on 2550 6012/13 or on the Bank's email address.

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