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

Slog’s Brussels mole clears up the riddle


“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.