Driven by Foreign Demand, the $100 Bill Overtakes the $1 Bill

August 29, 2019

It would make sense that the least valuable bill would be the most ubiquitous. However, the $100 bill recently overtook the $1 bill in circulation volume for the first time in history. The number of $100 bills in circulation has surged in recent years, nearly doubling since the financial crisis of 2008.

It’s not Americans that are looking for big bills, but foreigners. According to data from the Fed, almost 80 percent of $100 bills are overseas. This accounts for more than 60 percent of all U.S. bills.

Fed economist Ruth Judson posits that the overseas demand is so strong because of the safety of American currency in the face of geopolitical turbulence. 

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