In the decade since the 2008 crisis, plenty of weird things have occurred in the world of finance. But this week a new phenomenon was observed that might make even economists and financiers blink. Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank’s chief international economist, spotted that the volume of $100 bills in circulation had, according to data compiled by the US Federal Reserve, doubled since 2008, leaving around 12.5-billion of these bills stuffed into wallets, safes and suitcases globally. That’s $1.25-trillion. Given that we are supposed to be living in a digital era, with credit cards, bitcoin and so on, this strikes me as odd; doubly so, perhaps, since some, such as Tesla chief Elon Musk, predict that cash will soon disappear. Stranger still, the rise means that, for the first time in history, the volume of $100 bills has eclipsed that of single-dollar notes, making the former the most widely used note. Demand has surged even as the Fed has raised US interest rates. This defies economic lo...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now