Demand for W50,000 Bills Still Soaring

Due to explosive demand for W50,000 bills, the amount of new bills printed exceeded W9 trillion for the first time last year (US$1=W1,064).

The Bank of Korea on Thursday said total bills in circulation at the end of last year were worth W63.37 trillion, up 9.03 trillion or 16.6 percent from the previous year.

W50,000 bills accounted for 88 percent of that surge. As of the end of 2013, W40.68 trillion worth had been issued, up 24.2 percent from a year ago.

W50,000 bills currently take up 64.2 percent of the total worth of bills issued, four percent higher than the end of 2012.

Yet there is still a shortage in some regions such as Busan and South Gyeongnam Province, and banks are asking the Bank of Korea to issue more bills.

There are worries that the sudden surge of demand for W50,000 bills is a sign of a growing black economy and tax evasion, but the Bank of Korea has yet to identify the exact cause for the phenomenon.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 17, 2014 13:17 KST