July 31 (UPI) — For the first time in U.S. history, $100 bills surpassed $1 bills in circulation volume, according to an International Money Fund report.
The report states that the $100 bill officially overtook the $1 bill in circulation in 2017 and the number of $100 bills in circulation has doubled since the onset of the global financial crisis more than a decade ago, according to Federal Reserve data.
While the $100 bill is proliferating at a historic rate, data shows that most of the bills aren’t being held by Americans.
“According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, nearly 80 percent of $100 bills — and more than 60 percent of all U.S bills — are overseas,” the report states.
Fed economist Ruth Judson said international demand for dollar bills abroad saw a spike at the beginning of the global financial crisis in 2008, as the dollar is viewed as a safe asset.
“Cash demand, especially from other countries, increases in times of political and financial crisis,” Judson said.
Harvard University economics professor and former IMF Chief Economist Kenneth Rogoff said that high-value currencies such as the $100 bill are primarily used to avoid taxes and regulation for illegal activity.
“Apartments and houses in major cities all over the world are paid for with suitcases of cash every day and it is not because the buyers are afraid of bank failures,” Rogoff said.