Wednesday, June 8, 2011
SPAIN’S MISSING 285,685 MILLION PESETAS
In the old currency that equates to 285,685 million pesetas. Of that total the central bank says 904 million euros are held in notes and 813 million euros in coins.
In April the Bank of Spain changed a million euros or 166 million pesetas in to the new currency. All those transactions were for notes. During 2010 Spaniards changed a total of 3,328 million pesetas for which they received some 20 million euros. The 2010 figures is a nine per cent drop on the previous year when 3,660 million pesetas were handed in.
Now when Spain changed from the peseta to the euro on January 1 1999 all the money in our bank accounts automatically switched. Those of us who had some cash took it to the bank to change but obviously many people didn’t. Indeed it wasn’t till 2002 that the peseta was finally phased out.
Without a doubt I have somewhere some peseta coins which I never bothered to change as does virtually every other household in Spain. This goes to make up a part of the total. Other sums have simply been lost or forgotten about. I remember when I bought an old ruin the builder who was to convert it busily searched through the canes that covered the ceiling as this was apparently a favourite hiding place to conceal notes from house thieves. Other canes no doubt still hold their booty.
However in this time of economic crisis every Spaniard is keen to lay their hands on any cash that is going. Hence the large bulk of the unchanged sums must be “black” money. To change it means admitting you have it to the Bank of Spain and in turn the tax authority. Large amounts will set the alarm bells ringing whilst large amounts that have been sat on for years will have those bells positively jangling. So we can expect the majority of the missing millions of pesetas to remain missing for evermore – unless of course the peseta makes a return should the euro fall.