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Have you ever wondered why you don’t seem to come across Aus $100 bill for a long time now? Not in the stores, not form the machines and hardly in the banks.

Well, dismissing the idea that supply is low, experts fear that the other possibilities they have in mind could be real. Given that the Reserve Bank of Australia announced that they released 300 million $100 notes and deterioration is insignificant, some reasons as to why there is less to none in circulation could be because they are personally kept outside any financial institution for future use and bought by tourists as keepsakes.

The first reason is not very surprising. With the numerous threats to the world economy, financial crisis is just around the corner. It is only but natural for people, especially the wealthy ones, to keep cash just in case the government declares bankruptcy and shut all the banks down. Keeping high denomination cash are also frequently connected to tax evasion and illegal transactions in Australia. Untraceable billing and payment transactions are means of tax savings for individuals and corporations. Keeping high denomination notes such as the $100 could also be a sign of money laundering as a million dollar composed of $100 bills is way more practical than having it in smaller bills. This fact must be considered as a threat to the authorities because if this must be really true, then the Australian government could be unconsciously tolerating criminal acts among its citizens.

In different parts of the world, considerations in removing high denomination bills are ongoing. The European Central Bank for one is now planning to stop producing 500 euro notes because of its attachment to illegal activities. In 2000, Canada did exactly that on its $1000 bills for the said purpose. For a holistic approach in counterfeiting fraud and illegal acts, the UK Standard Chartered’ s former chief executive, Mr. Draghi, suggested that the highest notes of the British pound, Swiss francs, US dollars and euro must be dissolved. Amidst all the speculations, the RBA said that it has no plan to remove the $100 notes in circulation, adding that it might be even a good sign rather than bad.

In terms of Australian dollars, the $100 USD worth Aus $140, 1000 Swiss franc wroth Aus $1420 and the $10,000 Brunei dollars equivalent to Aus $10,000 are among the world’s biggest banknotes. Zimbabwe had the largest denomination printed in the history, though. It printed 1 trillion dollar bill to cause hyperinflation in 2000. By 2015, Zimbabwe changed its currency to US dollars with the exchange rate of $35 quadrillion to 1 USD.

The second reason, using the $100 notes as keepsakes is also possible and acceptable as more tourists are currently coming in and out of Australia than in the past. As there is no definite record to prove how much of the said bills went outside the country for memorabilia, we could only assume that only a small portion of the total $100 notes printed belonged to the tourists. In 2015, the Australian government recorded 7.43 million tourist arrivals. Assuming all of them brought $100 note as souvenir, this comprises only 2% of the 300 million notes printed by the RBA. The question is, where is the 98%?