The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced more $100 bills in fiscal year 2010 than $1 bills.
It printed just over 1.9 billion of them with a face value of about $190 billion. For the $1 denomination, the total number of bills was 50 million lower than that, though rounding would put the $1 bill total at 1.9 billion pieces as well.
What’s going on?
The $100 bill has been a hoarders and black market favorite overseas for many years. Are Americans adopting that habit as well?
Certainly the financial crisis proved cash is king. You need it when you need it. A $100 tucked in the back of the wallet is not a bad insurance policy against uncertainty.
I’m sure some people will joke that the $100s are needed because people need them to pay their gasoline bills. There is no question that a fill-up costs a great deal more than it used to. The cost of food is also higher.
But paying ordinary bills is something that can be planned. You can use your debit or credit cards. They are more convenient.
For my money, I think part of the reason for more $100s is the hoarding function. Just as people are trying to preserve their assets long term by buying gold and silver, they are also preserving their assets short term by keeping a little more cash for emergencies and this little stash is not comprised of $1 bills.