EXLUSIVE: EURO BANKNOTES UPDATE: Berlin printing new Euronotes (X) en masse, ECB withdrawing Greek notes (Y)

Slog’s Brussels mole clears up the riddle

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“must mean Greek euroexit now seen as near-certainty”

Following this morning’s Slogpost about the dearth of Greek-origin euronotes (Y) and the torrent of new German versions (X) across the EU at the moment, I have been in contact with my regular Brussels informant. Since appearing, the piece that went up this morning has evoked a mass of emails to my Slog address, all of which have enabled further quantification of the fact that German notes are dominating supplies at the minute, while Greek versions are disappearing fast.

The Commission mole has ‘confirmed’ that the process is designed to ensure minimal numbers of ‘Y’ designated Greek notes are in circulation, in order to reduce refusal to accept them outside Greece to a bare minimum “as and when the Greeks exit the eurozone”.

I suggested that surely he meant “if and when”. After a brief silence, he added, “I doubt if the ECB and Berlin would’ve gone to these lengths if they didn’t feel that an exit is inevitable”.

I have to say that surprises me. I stick to my view that Berlin would do almost anything to avoid that exit, but at the same time – on the German principle of ‘immer alles klar’ – this has all the hallmarks of a contingency plan – nothing more, necessarily: after all, the notes are of equal value – and being replaced (allegedly) in balance. But sources, as we all know, are not always right in their interpretations. In this case, however, the Slog mole is sure of his facts regarding the operation itself.

“It was inevitable that people would start to notice sooner or later,” he has told me this afternoon, “and in a way it does show that the chiefs here are thinking it through. I would’ve thought that would reassure the markets rather than panic them.”

Not sure I’d agree with that either, although some observers today are suggesting that the markets will see the final exit of Greece as a relief. (With Spain and Italy yet to come, they shouldn’t see it as a relief so much as a trailer, but I don’t pretend to understand the minds of these people any more).

Blimey. Something to chew on over the weekend, this one.

55 thoughts on “EXLUSIVE: EURO BANKNOTES UPDATE: Berlin printing new Euronotes (X) en masse, ECB withdrawing Greek notes (Y)

  1. EU drawing up contingency plan for Greece leaving euro. The European Commission and the ECB are working on “emergency scenarios” in case Greece leaves the euro, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht tells Belgium’s De Standaard newspaper in what appears to be the first official acknowledgement of such plans. Greece may still stay in the euro, though, as a new poll shows the pro-austerity parties being able to form a government.

    • They are really going to have to go the whole hog — much more integration, huge firewalls, eurobonds, etc — in short everything you can think of and the kitchen sink. And when they do they will still have many of the same inherent divergences in the various economies. Look at the recent history of the US with southern states making deals for non-union shops to make Japanese and German cars at the expense of the ‘Big Three’ of Detroit. You will never make the northern countries into the southern in Europe or vice versa. Nor should one want such a thing. They agreed on a farcical idea ~ 2000 (public) and now they simply have to go the rest of the journey — there will be a price, but it will be a realistic valuation to the joining of Europe. Not the fantastical valuations of recent years. Get it done by summer or so — at least they will have solace in seeing nowhere in particular to envy the way things are now. Else let it go untended in face of a global slowdown? Don’t think that is wise.

      • Meant they would, if they were reasonable people, have to do the above whether G stays in OR goes out.

        But I do wonder about the people in charge.

  2. Reblogged this on Machholz's Blog and commented:
    The Fiscal Stability Treaty is the instrument the Jackboots in Berlin will use to kick out Ireland of the Euro when it suites them .We are in no position to fulfill the extreme financial demands on us now not to mind the new hidden demands concealed within the Treaty

  3. Excellent information John – I’d almost go as far as prefixing it with insider if that didn’t suggest something illegal!

  4. It’s so clever, isn’t it?

    The worst thing that can happen is anarchy because the money in people’s pockets is worthless. This way, the folks won’t riot even harder when the country exits the euro.

    ‘Calm down folks, you’ve all got legal tender euros.’

    The euro exit is clearly a fait accompli and we are witnessing a pantomime. All the real drama has taken place behind closed doors. Reminds me of the gap between Gordon Brown’s defeat and the way the British civil service meddled until it got the outcome the Establishment wanted.

    I feel physically sick. Not about the euro notes, but about the level of contempt the ruling elite have for us all.

    • Tina , anarchy means ” without leaders ” and given the leaders we have might not be a bad idea if they all drop dead and we are without . I think you mean chaos .

      • ‘without rulers’ would be closer. And more accurate, given that no politician in recent memory has been much of a leader.

        Although, strangely, ‘democracy’ doesn’t appear to mean ‘dictatorship by committee, with the illusion of choice included to gull the masses”, if you look it up.

      • …And you’ll find that most anarchists believe in autonomy, or self-government, by organised, federated, mass local assemblies (the sort employed by the indignados and the Occupy people)- especially effective against the creation of ruling elites and for the elimination of both their corruption, and their contempt for people.

  5. the process is designed to ensure minimal numbers of ‘Y’ designated Greek notes are in circulation, in order to reduce refusal to accept them outside Greece to a bare minimum

    or.. to prevent Ys flooding Germany.

    somehow I doubt they really could design and conduct such operation so fast and so covertly. and no one disclosed it?! I don’t buy it.

  6. Funniest thing is… after all this, how long do the Germans/Brussels think they have until the Euro tanks under the weight of Spain, Italy, Portugal< Ireland, teh Netherlands, and France's crises? Do they really think amputating Greece will save the euro? Barring a miraculous world wide recovery with titanic growth… I give the whole Eu a year or two at most.

    • Alternatively John, Greece, perhaps followed by the other Club Meds, having left the Euro Zone, will boom with Tourism again. Thus becoming the recipients of all the other Euro State citizens holiday cash. Which might have the preverse effect of boosting the EU.

      Cheering events until the end bit of course.

      • Oh I agree… between a value priced tourism economy, a bustling agricultural/food industry, a wealth of mineral deposits, and our new petrol finds and energy agreements with Israel and Russia… I am not so concerned.

  7. I am starting to think that next week may well be
    a “bank.holiday” across the Euro zone.
    TPTB are much further along in their planning than
    I thought.Removing the Ys is one clue.
    The change of venue of the G8 meeting is a strong
    second indicator of bad things coming..
    Changing subject.Gold:first they ignore you,then
    they laugh at you,then they fight you,then you win.
    The short selling cartel just lost.
    Buy now whilst you can still access your bank accounts.

    • [quote]I am starting to think that next week may well be
      a “bank.holiday” across the Euro zone.[/quote]

      Which is why I emptied my bank accounts of the couple of hundred quid that were still in them this morning. Might not spread as far as the UK, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Of slightly greater concern is that my step-daughter will arrive in Lake Como, Italy, in a few hours and stay for 8 days – I’m wondering if the holiday might be unexpectedly extended, though she is holidaying with at least two serving police officers, so I imagine they’ll be able to pull strings with the Home Office to get home, if things really do go pear shaped.

      • She will be OK.
        Como is safe and the local area is
        self supporting,but then I’m biased ,
        my Grandfather was born there.
        Big cities will be the place not to be.

      • So what about those of living in France? (or living in Spain, heaven help them). What should we do? I take all my money out of the bank as soon as it arrives, and today checked all my euros (90% x, I am happy to say). But have daughter from Scotland staying for the next 10 days, and boy is that an expensive venture! You know how daughters are —- very expensive, thats how they are!
        So I think you should not worry, Woodgnome. Nothing is going to happen in the next 10 days…

  8. Pingback: John Ward – Exclusive : Euro Banknotes Update : Berlin Printing New Euronotes (X) En Masse, ECB Withdrawing Greek Notes (Y) – 18 May 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  9. Unless I am being completely thick here, “… the process is designed to ensure minimal numbers of ‘Y’ designated Greek notes are in circulation, in order to reduce refusal to accept them outside Greece to a bare minimum …” does not make any sense. Euros are Euros, wherever they are printed. Even if Greek printed Euros were somehow, well, specifically Greek, what is the purpose of replacing them with German printed ones?

    I know that Greek Euros are supposedly proportional to the ‘value’ of the Greek economy in the Eurozone and thus there could be a case for eliminating Greece’s ‘share’ of the Euro in order to make room for New Drachmas, but in that case the number of Euros in circulation should be reduced, not substituted with German printed ones. I know that the amount of currency in circulation is only notionally based on ‘value’ and subject to fluctuation but I’m sure you see the point.

    I suppose it is possible it’s to forestall any post exit printing by Greece, but I doubt they could have gotten away with that anyway.

    Could anyone offer a reasonable explanation or explain how the ‘official’ explanation is reasonable?

    • It’s all about the managed perception.
      If people start checking the provenance of their fiat,
      the next step is to question the faith and trust part.
      Instant banker death if that happens..

      • I see your point, WS, but I don’t think it washes. Managing perceptions would demand that they shout loudly and clearly a Euro is a Euro is a Euro whatever letter is stamped on it, withdrawing Greek printed notes says it’s just paper which they should want to avoid.

    • Peter C
      It feels to me like you refuse to accept the fundamental irrationality of the Common Man.
      Of course we KNOW that all the notes have the same value, but what about the French farmer in the Lot, the Italian peasant in Sicily and the Spanish bartender on Barcelona?
      Perhaps you are perfect, but most people aren’t.

      • @ John W

        Well, you’ve done it now! As someone of English, French and Italian ancestry (and peasantry to boot) you’ve insulted me three times! :-b

        Anyway, since the only indication of origin on Euro notes is the prefix letter of the serial number I doubt hardly anyone in the groupings you mention would even know there was a difference. I suppose that there will always be some people who would try to convince others that ‘Y’ notes were worthless and there will be a small number of gullible people that would believe them which might be thought an excuse to remove the notes. On the other hand, it is my experience that peasants are a lot harder to scam than more affluent folk. So no, logic tells me there is a different reason for this substitution, ‘though we may never know it, of course.

        That said, I accept that the Euro hierarchy could believe it necessary for such a specious reason and be so fundamentally irrational as to think it easier to eliminate the notes now than to simply say that all Euros are perfectly legal and the Greek notes will be gradually withdrawn over time.

    • The very fact that Euros are marked with the State of origin means that all Euros are NOT equivalent the way all Dollars are. If Greece is ejected by cutting them out of TARGET2, then any Euros they print are effectively counterfeit, or equivalent to Drachmas. Z. Germans must be getting very worried about the huge TARGET2 debt owed to them by the Bank of Greece, and they are ready to pull the plug.

  10. Forget about Y euros . They all have to be withdrawn
    The name “euro” in both Latin and Greek script (EURO / ΕΥΡΩ) is after the note value on the bottom left on all yoyo’s.

  11. If it carries on, and all the Euros are replaced by X marked German versions…. then finally the Euro will have become what it really was all
    along… Germany’s new Deutsche Mark.

    • Jon
      Yes, there is that. But a sizeable proportion of the ‘Good euros’, I have learned today, are being produced by Belgium.
      In the end, if you’re Mario Draghi it comes down to only allowing printing by the people you trust.

  12. But – if everyone is pulling their cash out of the banks….and getting German Rolos in return – then if Greece returns to the drachma – then the people will still have the value of the Rolo’s they hold….so they will suddenly become twice, three times or four times as ‘wealthy’ as they were when they were before…..point 1.

    Aside…This ties in to Germany ordering more banknote paper at the back end of last year (as reported either here or on a link from here).

    Taking up point 1 above – would this reduce the chances for the TPTB getting strung up by the populace when they find their ‘wealth’ in Drachma’s detroyed ? After all – the politico’s will have moved their dosh already and will want to live long enough to spend it ! Throwing the little people a bone to pick over might be their way of ensuring their survival when it really goes mammaries to the sky.

    Just thinking out loud – so to speak !

  13. What signature is on these notes when people are looking at them? New ones have Mario Draghi’s on them. That minor change to reflect the change at the top of the ECB *may* have been an ideal time to prevent the Bank of Greece printing works from issuing new notes themselves.

  14. People arguing that a euro is a euro should bear in mind that a £ is a £ except maybe when it’s a Scottish note. Strictly speaking they’re not legal tender in England, and some shops accept them and some shops don’t. What’s to stop shopkeepers refusing Greek printed euros? Solution, withdraw all Greek printed euros. If you’re Greek and you have X marked euros, hide them under the bed. Someday soon they may be worth more than the local currency.

  15. Pingback: HACKGATE DAY 493: Phone hacking investigations set for huge expansion | A diary of deception and distortion

    • Gk – good thinking. I’ve seen genuine Texas Bullshit mounted in perspex. I have a small piece of the Berlin Wall mounted in perspex. I have a solitary 10 Euro note which if the Slog is correct is destined to be mounted in perspex!

  16. I think I know why the Greek cash machines are now spitting out German Euros. Could it be because the Greek bank printing presses are busy printing Drachmas?

  17. I have been told more than once that German printed Euro notes have long traded on the money market at a slight premium to the others. Can anyone confirm this, and if so, is this premium now increasing?

  18. Pingback: Berlin printing new Euronotes (X) en masse, ECB withdrawing Greek notes (Y) [The Slog] « Mktgeist blog

  19. Pingback: 21. Jahrhundert » Blog Archiv » EXLUSIVE: EURO BANKNOTES UPDATE: Berlin printing new Euronotes (X) en masse, ECB withdrawing Greek notes (Y) | A diary of deception and distortion

  20. Pingback: Greece: The Duel Currency Option. | theneedleblog

  21. Well, this all is a huge can of BS!

    I try to clarify: The letter of the serial number of each Euro note, means where it has been PRINTED! Irish Euro notes are valid in France, Spanish notes are valid in Greece, etc.

    The X explicitely means only that it was MADE in either Munich or Berlin. That’s all!

    Everyone knows that Germany recently sent billions to Greece. Possible that it was in cash!

  22. Untrusting soul that I am, I emailed a former colleague in Greece to ask if your reported observations were correct. To quote Dr Menti directly: “I checked the banknotes of mine and of friends and I found not a single Greek 50 Euro banknote although there are Greek notes of 20 Euros or less.”

    From this it would appear that only the higher denomination Greek Euro notes are being actively withdrawn.

    To achieve such a rapid withdrawl, the Greek banks must be in on the deal, and therefore a fairly large bribe would have to have been paid to these banks to ensure cooperation and stop the buggers squealing out what is occurring.

    • If you take a look at this: http://en.eurobilltracker.com/diffusion/ you will see that €50 banknotes bearing the letter Y have always been a very tiny minority. No wonder your former colleague and his friends were unable to find any in their pockets.

      This whole story seems like yet another conspiracy theory.

  23. X bills or Y bills mean absolutely nothing in the event of a Greek Euro exit. There will have to be another sort of distinction – a logistical undertaking worthy of the top consulting firms in the world. Is there any other solution than implementing closed borders that give Greeks a weekend to have their Euro bills stamped to an interim currency (Euro bills being worthless in Greece thereafter)? How else do you address the situation of a Greek staching 100,000 euros in bills under his mattress?

  24. I have today done a very informal check on the Y note situation in Greece and found among 6 subjects in Greece just one Greek Y (the starting letter of the Euro bank note) note. This was an individual on one of the remote islands. Is there a more recent or statistically more sound corroberation of the supposed observation that Y notes are disappearing from circulation?

    I understand the follwoing to be the case formally in respect of Y notes. They are undoubtedly the liability of the Bank of Greece (the Central Bank). This liability amounts to a total amount of roughly €22.5 billion or say €2,000 per Greek. Assuming an average note value of close to €25 that means there are 80 notes in circulation per Greek. In the event of a redenomination of Greek assets and liabilities in a local currency, call these Greuros, then logically these notes (Y denomination) will become local currency and will be valued at a different price from other serial number Euro notes. I am not surpised that given the stress in Greece that Y notes are being dumped and replaced by other notes whether covertly by Eurozone officials or simply by the public depositing Y notes at the bank as soon as is practicable trying to get other serial number notes.

    Thanks Bob

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