Another sign of our troubled times.
Nick Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, discovered in the fiscal year that ended in October, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing cranked out a record 3 billion, $100 notes. That’s 50% more than the 2 billion $1 bills that were printed in the past couple of years.
The sudden popularity of $100 bills runs counter to the use of smaller denomination bills ($1, $5, $10 and $20) which has been declining for over a decade, as the number of cashless transactions has steadily gone up.
Colas says there are several reasons for the sudden popularity of $100 bills:
- Nefarious users, such as drug dealers, arms smugglers, tax cheats and bribes.
- Individual savers opting to hold cash instead of investing it, due to record low bank deposit rates and yields on U.S. Treasury bills that are paying next to nothing, as well as a lack of confidence in banking institutions.
- Then there is hoarding: More and more people are losing faith in government and/or the economy and are shunning the surety of traditional investments, which also account for the huge increase in demand for gold and other precious metals.
- The popularity of the $100 bill goes beyond the borders of the United States. While it’s hard to quantify the exact amount, it is believed that the majority of $100 bills are probably being held overseas, since they are globally recognized, widely accepted and the easiest way to store wealth.
Many money watchers are baffled by why there’s this huge increase in the printing of old-style $100 bills right before the expected launch of the new and improved $100 bills that will include a 3-D blue stripe and bell-in-an-inkwell security features (see pic below). According to the Federal Reserve and its NewMoney.gov website, production problems have delayed the launch of the newest $100 notes for over a year now, though an announcement is expected soon.
I don’t find that baffling at all. It just goes to show people who are worried about the economy — rightfully so, given the gargantuan and ever-growing U.S. national debt — are being proactive by preparing for the likely ensuing social unrest. And it’s not just $100 bills that are being hoarded: sales of firearms and storable food are also surging.
It’s not just about social unrest. In a major natural disaster, sometimes power isn’t restored for days or even weeks. If power goes out, so too will ATM machines. Just ask the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
To add to the craziness:
In October 2012, after the new-fangled counterfeit-proof $100 bills were minted, Business Insider reported that a “large amount” of newly-minted $100 bills were stolen by unknown thieves from a shipment headed for a Federal Reserve in New Jersey, according to the FBI.
Welcome to Obama’s “Hope & Change & Forward” America!
H/t FOTM’s Anon.