According to the Swiss National Bank (SNB), there are more thousand-franc notes in circulation than ever before.
A total of 67.6 billion Swiss francs worth of banknotes were in circulation at the end of 2014. Of that amount, 40.5 billion francs were made up of thousand-franc notes. By comparison, total Swiss coins in circulation totaled “just” 3 billion francs at the end of 2014.
Values and amounts of Swiss bank notes
10-franc notes: 745.8 million francs, or 74.58 million banknotes.
20-franc notes: 1714.9 million francs, or 85.745 million banknotes.
50-franc notes: 2587.6 million francs, or 51.752 million banknotes.
100-franc notes: 11,750.5 million francs, or 117.505 million banknotes.
200-franc notes: 10,152.7 million francs, or 50.764 million banknotes.
500-franc notes: 108.4 million, or 216,800 banknotes.
1'000-franc notes: 40,536 million, or 40.536 million banknotes.
Total: 67,595.8 million, or approximately 412 million banknotes.
Thousand-franc notes make up approximately 60 percent of the total value of all Swiss banknotes combined. In terms of the number of Swiss banknotes in circulation, the one-thousand-franc bills make up just under 10 percent. The 100-franc note is the most numerous.
The question arises as to how all those 1000-franc notes are used. Compared to other banknotes, the 1000-franc notes are not as widely used in everyday payments.
It is fairly safe to assume that most 1000-franc notes are used as a savings instrument – held either in safes or safe deposit boxes. There is always a chance that a small fraction of these banknotes are being misappropriated as a space-efficient currency for criminals.
An analysis by economic historian Tobias Straumann indicates that in times of economic uncertainty, demand for thousand-franc notes is greater than it is in less volatile times. In this way, 1000-franc notes serve as an economic indicator.
The SNB’s implementation of negative interest rates and the negative yield rates some banks have applied to business and high-net-worth customers could strengthen the run on the most valuable Swiss banknote.