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Debut of W100,000 Note Delayed Indefinitely

Posted January. 01, 2009 07:03,   


The 50,000 won note will go into circulation as early as April after its debut in the middle of this month, but the introduction of the 100,000 won bill will be delayed indefinitely.

An official at the Bank of Korea said yesterday, “A delay in the design work has suspended the introduction of the 50,000 won bill. The bank will supply higher value bills from April at the earliest.”

The Strategy and Finance Ministry said it delivered its decision to postpone the issuance of the 100,000 won bill for an indefinite period to both the National Assembly and the central bank.

Though the ministry said it will decide whether the issuance of the 100,000 won note is needed after watching the circulation of the 50,000 won notes, the central bank considers the decision a de facto cancellation of the bill since the ministry gave no specific timetable.

On the reason for the postponement, the ministry said that the ancient map of Korea called “Daedong Yeojido” to be printed on the back of the 100,000 won bill does not include the Dokdo islets.

The ministry also said demand for higher value bills is low due to an increase in credit card use and warned that high denomination notes could trigger inflation.

Experts contend, however, that higher value bills are necessary to reinvigorate the economy, with one saying, “The need for the 100,000 won banknote was agreed on by parliament and the Bank of Korea’s Monetary Policy Committee.”

Others say the ministry deferred the issuance because of the controversy over whose portrait will go on the note.

Under the previous Roh Moo-hyun administration, the portrait of independence activist Ahn Chang-ho was selected for the new note on the recommendation of a civil advisory committee in November 2007. The Bank of Korea nixed the decision and chose freedom fighter Kim Ku instead.

peacechaos@donga.com parky@donga.com