New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may either be holding back Rs2,000 notes or could have stopped printing high denomination currency, says a SBI Research report.

Juxtaposing the data presented in the Lok Sabha recently with the one provided by the RBI in its annual report earlier, the SBI Ecoflash report said on Wednesday, “we observe" that the value of small denomination currency in circulation up to March 2017 was Rs3,501 billion. This implies that the value of high denomination notes was equivalent to Rs13,324 billion as on 8 December, after netting out the small denomination notes from the currency in circulation on that day, it said.

The report further said that as per the ministry of finance in the Lok Sabha recently, the RBI has printed 16,957 million pieces of Rs500 notes and 3,654 million pieces of Rs2,000 notes as on 8 December. The total value of such notes translates into Rs15,787 billion. “This means that the residual amount of high currency notes (Rs15,787 billion - Rs13,324 billion) of Rs2,463 billion may have been printed by the RBI but not supplied in the market," said the report authored by Soumya Kanti Ghosh, group chief economic adviser, State Bank of India.

Interestingly, the report added, “it is safe to assume" that Rs2,463 billion may be on the lower side as the RBI must have printed notes of small denomination in the interregnum (Rs50 and Rs200).

“As a logical corollary, as 2000 denomination currency led to challenges in transactions, it thus indeed seems that RBI may have either consciously stopped printing the 2000 denomination notes/or printing in smaller numbers after initially it was printed in ample amount to normalise the liquidity situation," said the SBI report. This also means that the share of small currency notes in total currency in circulation now may have touched 35% in value terms, it added.

The government on 8 November last year had announced demonetisation of high value notes, Rs500 and Rs1,000, which together accounted for 86-87% of the currency in circulation. The move had led to a huge cash shortage, and large queues were witnessed at banks for exchange or depositing the scrapped currency. The RBI introduced a new Rs2,000 note as well as new version of the Rs500 note. Subsequently, the RBI, for the first time, also introduced a Rs200 note.

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