From Sunday, 17 of the 19 national central banks in the euro area will no longer issue € 500 banknotes that will be collected and destroyed, but will retain their value for an unlimited period.
A note of € 500 remains on Sundays in the eurozone countries, with the exception of Austria and Germany for "logistical reasons" and "to ensure a smooth transition", according to the European Central Bank (ECB).
The German and Austrian central banks will continue to issue these banknotes until 26 April 2019 inclusive.
"Since the 500 euro banknotes are deposited with the central banks of the euro area, including the Banco de Portugal, they are destroyed," explained Banco de Portugal to Lusa.
"Also, 500-euro banknotes, which are already in the hands of the NCBs on 26 January 2019 (26 April in the case of the central banks of Germany and Austria), will be destroyed next," added the governor, led by Carlos Costa.
The Bank of Portugal pointed out that "the process is in any case identical to what is happening in the first series of the euro (from EUR 5 to 50), which have already been replaced by the" Europe "series, the only difference being that there will be no € 500 banknote. "
The existing 500 euro banknotes remain legal tender and can continue to be used as a means of payment and reserve, and credit institutions, exchange agencies and other commercial companies can continue to recycle 500 existing euro.
On the question of the number of € 500 banknotes in circulation in Portugal, the Bank of Portugal replied that "it is not possible" to know how many of these notes are being circulated effectively in Portugal.
"In fact, in the context of monetary union, it is only possible to calculate total circulation and here it is important to mention that the euro, as a global currency, is also used in other countries outside the eurozone, either as a reserve or even making payments" said the regulator.
By 31 December 2018, around € 521 million of banknotes worth more than € 260 billion were in circulation, according to the ECB.
According to the institution run by Mario Draghi, "like the other denominations of euro banknotes, the € 500 banknote will always keep its value and can be replaced in the national central banks of the eurozone for an unlimited period."
It was in early May 2016 that the ECB decided to discontinue the production and issuance of the € 500 banknote and also decided to exclude it from the European series, the second series of euro banknotes because of the concern that this note could facilitate the activities illegally.
At the same time, the monetary authority of the euro area ensures that the Eurosystem, which is part of the ECB and the national central banks of the euro area, will take the necessary steps to ensure that other euro banknotes are available in sufficient quantities.