Paper Money

Venezuela's new note series missing in action

Where are the bank notes in Venezuela’s new series, the bolívares soberanos?

Image courtesy of Monetary Research Institute.

Venezuela’s new series of bank notes, to be called bolívares soberanos, and necessary because the nation’s rampant inflation turned much of what it has been using into nothing more than play money, was supposed to be introduced on June 4.

When the Maduro government delayed it to Aug. 4, the national banker’s association asked for an extra month to prepare.

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As of now, the Monetary Research Institute reports in its MRI Banker’s Guide to Foreign Currency, there is no indication that any of the seven new denominations, from 2 to 200 bolívares soberanos, have even arrived in Venezuela.

Since the announcement of the new currency, the Venezuelan economic situation has only gotten worse. Venezuela’s present currency, the bolivar fuerte (strong bolivar), was trading on the free market at 3.6 million per U.S. dollar during the last week of June.


At that rate, a complete set of 2-, 5-, 10-, 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-bolívares-soberanos notes would be worth 26 U.S. cents. 

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The Monetary Research Institute says that is about half of what it costs to print them. 

One bolívar soberano is equal to 1,000 bolivares fuertes and 1 million pre-2008 bolívares. 

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