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CURRENCY

New €5 notes make German debut

The Bundesbank started issuing a new €5 note on Thursday which will gradually replace the bill that has been in circulation since the introduction of the single currency in 2002.

New €5 notes make German debut
Photo: DPA

The older, grey note – the euro zone’s smallest both in size and value – is to be replaced gradually with the new design which has upgraded security and better protection against wear and tear.

The €5 is the first of the euro notes to have a makeover since the common currency was introduced over a decade ago.

New features include several appearances of the female Greek mythological figure Europa in the note’s watermark and hologram, and a shiny iridescent “5” on the front which appears to change from dark green to navy blue when the note is bent.

Designers have also covered the new version with a protective glossy layer in a bid to improve the frequently-exchanged note’s lifespan, which at the moment is usually less than a year. An average €20 note, meanwhile, lasts two years and a €50 note up to four years.

The Bundesbank said on Thursday there was not yet a time limit on using the older notes, which would retain their validity for now.

Consumers would be able to exchange old notes at national central banks in all 17 countries in the eurozone when they cease to be legal tender, said the bank.

“The point at which the bank notes from the first [euro] series cease to be legal tender will be announced well in advance,” said a Bundesbank spokesman.

Unlike euro coins, which bear landmarks from their country of origin, euro bank notes are the same wherever they are printed across the eurozone.

Designers chose originally to cover the notes with fantasy buildings representing Europe’s many historical architectural styles, and the new €5 note retains its stylised example of classical architecture.

A new €10 note is currently in the pipeline and will be introduced next year, whereas a new €20 is scheduled for 2015.

DPA/The Local/jlb

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MONEY

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

An economic study has shown huge regional differences in income throughout Germany. So which parts of the country have the most to spend each month, and which are feeling the squeeze?

Where in Germany do people have the highest disposable income?

A study by the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Hans-Böckler foundation reveals stark regional differences in disposable income in Germany. In some cases, households had as much as double the spending money of those in other parts of the country. 

Here’s where people have the most – and least – disposable income each month.

What is disposable income?

The WSI calculated disposable income as the sum of income from wealth and employment, minus social contributions, income taxes, property taxes and other direct benefits or taxes.

What’s left is the income which private households can either spend on consumer goods or save.

The study, which was based on the most recent available national accounts data for 2019, looked at the disposable income of all of the 401 counties, districts and cities across Germany.

Which regions have the highest and lowest disposable incomes?

The study found that the regions with the highest disposable incomes were in the southern states.

Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg had the highest disposable income of all 401 German counties and independent cities – with an average per capita disposable income of €42,275. The district of Starnberg in Bayern followed in second place with €38,509.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: How much do employees really earn across Germany’s states?

By comparison, per capita incomes in the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia were less than half as high, at €17,015 and €17,741 respectively. These regions had the lowest disposable income in the country. 

The study also found that, more than thirty years since German reunification, the eastern regions continue to lag behind those in the west in terms of wages.

According to the WSI, the Potsdam-Mittelmark district is the only district in the former east where the disposable per capita income of €24,127 exceeds the national average of €23,706.

Do regional price differences balance things out?

The study also showed that regionally different price levels contribute to a certain levelling out of disposable incomes, as regions with high incomes also tend to have higher rents and other living costs.

“People then have more money in their wallets, but they cannot afford more to the same extent,” WSI scientist Toralf Pusch explained.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When will Germany raise the minimum wage?

Therefore, incomes in the eastern states, adjusted for purchasing power, are generally somewhat higher than the per capita amounts would suggest.

That could explain why, even after price adjustment, the cities of Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg in western Germany continue to be at the very bottom of the list.

Saxon-Anhalt’s Halle an der Saale, on the other hand, which has an average disposable income of only €18,527, benefits from the lower prices in the east.

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