Argentina’s Central Bank (BCRA) has confirmed that a new $500 bill will enter into circulation tomorrow.
The new bill includes the image of a yaguareté, a jaguar native to northern Argentina. It is the first of a new series of notes to be introduced featuring wildlife rather than the tradition of historic figures. The BCRA said this would allow Argentines to “feel represented and at the same time create awareness over conservation of biodiversity and the environment.”
The yaguareté is an endangered species in Argentina and considered a National Natural Monument. It is estimated that as few as 250 remain in the country, found most commonly in the jungle areas of Misiones.
The note is green, made from 100% cotton papers, and includes security features including: a watermark of the yaguareté and number 500, fluorescent fibres visible under ultra-violet light, and a security strip that changes colour from green to blue.
The introduction of a $500 bill – announced by President Mauricio Macri in January – comes after years of high inflation have eroded the purchasing power of the current bills available. The $100 bill has been the highest denomination for more than two decades, but at today’s exchange rate is only worth around US$6.50.
Given the predominance of cash in the local economy, expensive purchases today can involve carrying large volumes of bills.
According to the BCRA, the new $500 bill “will ease stockpiling in cash machines and reduce costs of moving cash.
“It will also facilitate multiple daily exchanges, improving the quality of life for Argentines.”
A $200 bill featuring a Southern Right Whale is also expected to be introduced this year, with the BCRA claiming in January that a $1,000 bill will enter in circulation in 2017.