The latest biannual data on euro banknote counterfeiting was recently released by the European Central Bank. In the second half of 2010, the number of counterfeit notes fell by around 6% from the first half of the year. Phoney notes remain exceedingly rare; they now comprise 0.003% of the outstanding euro bankotes in circulation.

As far as denominations go, clandestine printers produced more €50 notes in the second half than €20 notes, a reversal from the previous six months. Together, these denominations make up more than 80% of counterfeit bills. Interestingly, counterfeiters have been shying away from the €200 bill in recent years, with the stock of fake notes on a steep decline. At the same time, the number of forged €500 bills withdrawn in the second half of last year more than doubled from the first half. Fortune favours the bold?

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