ON average, a new banknote costs 9-22 cents across denominations to print but this is outweighed against factors such as banknote material, durability, useful life and threats against counterfeiting.
With the roll out of the new currency slowly taking shape, Reserve Bank of Fiji governor Barry Whiteside said its manufacture was an expensive exercise amounting to multi-millions of dollars.
"It's not the cost of a face value of a note — it costs a little bit different to make each type of note. The new $5 polymer is expensive because it's a plastic note, it's polymer but it lasts a bit longer," he said yesterday.
"If you look at the $100 note, it has a lot of security features which are expensive as well. "It is different across the notes but it's important that we have strong security features in the notes especially for the larger denominations where they can't be counterfeited easily — and that's where the cost comes in.
"Polymer banknotes are costlier to print however it has the benefit of extended durability. Paper banknotes of higher denominations incorporate more sophisticated and expensive security features to combat counterfeiting.
"The ability to achieve lower note cost is also attributed to economies of scale which is mostly seen in lower note denominations given that we print more."
On the issue of early signs of discolouring for some new $1 and $2 coins despite being in circulation for almost two months, Mr Whiteside said they had received an initial report from the suppliers, Royal Canadian Mint which was under review.
"Once our own assessments are completed, we will be able to make a formal announcement on the issue.
"We do not have such facilities in Fiji to re-colour the new coins. The RBF is still in liaison with the RCM on probable remedial actions, if any.
"The RCM has been our supplier for a number of years. They have previously supplied us with the older one and two cent coins, the new smaller and lighter coins which were issued in April 2009 and the new flora and fauna coins of all denominations which we released this year."
Royal Canadian Mint senior manager communications Alex Reeves said they would continue to discuss the matter with RBF as they pursued a joint analysis on the issue.