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April 12, 2024

BSP to release over 1 billion polymer banknotes in 2024

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced plans to circulate an additional one billion pieces of P1,000 polymer banknotes this year, doubling its initial order from an Australian printer in 2021.

BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto E. Tangonan said the decision to increase the circulation of polymer banknotes is in response to a higher currency demand, with the Filipino public showing acceptance of the plastic-based currency. Tangonan said the additional polymer banknotes will be delivered in batches.

Tangonan said the cost of outsourcing polymer banknotes is more manageable and less expensive compared to in-house production. Due to the BSP’s printing complex in Quezon City lacking the capability to produce polymer money, outsourcing from Note Printing Australia, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia, was necessary, he said.

The BSP paid Note Printing Australia P3.7 billion to produce, supply, and deliver 500 million pieces of P1,000 polymer banknotes from 2021 to 2023.

Regarding the sustainability of polymer banknotes, Tangonan revealed that ongoing studies have shown promising preliminary results.

While the polymer notes have demonstrated hygienic and sustainable qualities, assessments regarding durability are still underway.

Tangonan said the BSP has developed a polymer evaluation framework to objectively assess the reported benefits of polymer use, covering various evaluations such as carbon footprint analysis, microbial contamination analysis, perception surveys, sentiment analysis, and banknote lifespan analysis.

The study is expected to conclude in 2025, but Tangonan said that initial findings have already prompted the decision to order an additional one billion polymer banknotes for circulation in the next two years.

Tangonan noted the potential durability of polymer banknotes based on circulation tests, noting a “sense of durability.” He also highlighted the sustainability benefits, with polymer banknotes exhibiting lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to paper-based money.

During a 2022 Senate hearing, BSP officials projected significant savings from circulating polymer banknotes due to their longer lifespan compared to paper-based currency. Based on data from 2021, estimated production savings range from P1.2 billion to P2.4 billion.

Tangonan mentioned international examples of cost savings associated with polymer banknotes, citing the Bank of England and Australia’s experiences.

Looking ahead, the BSP plans to circulate more polymer banknotes in different denominations, such as P500 and P100, contingent upon public acceptance of polymer currency.