How Much Money is in Circulation Today?

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has quite the task of determining just how much money should be printed and distributed each year.  Once the number of economic importance has been figured out, the fun part of shredding old bills to compensate for the new ones takes place and the value of a dollar is balanced out.  Have you ever wondered though just how much United States currency is circulating through the world right now?

Money in the United States changes hands constantly. Each day, millions of U.S. dollars and coins are circulated throughout the economy.

A more recent number provided by the Federal Reserve Statistical Release at the end of April 2010, shows that total USD currency in circulation was $878.8 billion. Many people believe that it is the Federal Reserve that prints our money, however, in actuality the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) produces the paper currency, while the U.S. Mint produces the coinage. Further, up to two thirds of U.S. currency in circulation worldwide is held outside of the United States.

After the currency is minted, the coins and paper are sent to the Federal Reserve Banks (collectively, the “Fed”), twelve in total throughout the United States, and to some large banks within each Federal Reserve Bank district. It is the responsibility of the Fed to decide the amount of money in circulation. The Fed regulates the supply of money using:

  1. The Discount Rate – The interest rate the Fed charges to financial institutions for short-term loans of reserves.
  2. Reserve Requirements – The percentage of deposits in demand deposit accounts financial institutions must hold in reserve.
  3. Open Market Operations – The Fed buys or sell U.S. Government securities on the open market to influence short-term interest rates and the growth of the money and credit aggregates.

The Fed establishes monetary policy with the aim of sustaining economic growth. However, changes in the money supply impact interest rates as well as exchange rates. When the economy needs to be stimulated, or an increase in the growth rate of the money supply and credit is needed, the Fed steps in and buys U.S. government securities. This increases the amount of bank reserves. As a result, the federal funds rate, the rate on overnight loans between banks, decreases as banks are more willing to lend each other reserves. Other short term rates also decrease as the increase in supply of loanable funds decreases the equilibrium rate for loans. Longer-term interest rates also decrease.

The decrease in rates causes the dollar to depreciate in the foreign exchange market.  The reduction in interest rates at home leads to capital outflow, as money flows out to take advantage of higher interest rates abroad. The opposite occurs when the Fed is attempting to “cool” down the economy and stem inflation (too much money chasing too few goods causes an increase in prices). In this situation, the Fed sells U.S. government securities. As a result, the amount of bank reserves decreases, in turn, raising the Federal funds rate and other long-term rates. The increase in rates causes the dollar to appreciate, as investors demand the dollar because of its attractive yield.

Keeping the economy in check has always been a tough job for the US Treasury and with the more money put into circulation the more difficult the job becomes.  While $878 billion in circulation is a ton of money, it may not be as much as you thought.  Projects have over $1 trillion in circulation before 2020 and if you’ve ever tried to visualize that amount of money, you know just how large that sum is.

Topics: Personal Finance

10 Responses to “How Much Money is in Circulation Today?”

    • dan balfour

      They might not physically print it but they are in charge of the money supply. 40 billion new greenbacks will find their way into circulation each month every month for how ever long it takes to collapse the system.

    • Drew Nuernberger

      The current national dept as of May 2017 is nearly 20 trillion dollars. The total dept (with private dept) is nearly 69 trillion. The total amount of currency in circulation is nearly 4 trillion, with about 3 trillion overseas. Even if every American (including businesses) put everything they had toward their dept, there still be nearly 68 trillion left to pay with no more currency in circulation. The only way to get more money into circulation is for someone to borrow it from the Federal Reserve (a privately owned institution), only to increase the dept again. Are you getting the picture so far? So, you can clearly see that we will never, ever pay off the the national dept or the total dept for that matter. It’s absolutely impossible, and that was the intent of those who created the Fed from the very beginning. To ensnare the United States and it’s its people in dept in order to gain total control of our country. We’re not the only ones. They’ve done this to virtually every nation on earth, most recently Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia and they’re currently working on Syria, Iran and North Korea. Keep this in mind. Our currency is backed by absolutely nothing, so they can print it at will or simply create it with a keystroke. The only thing that gives the dollar its value, is peoples willing to except it. And that’s about to end. ABOLISH THE FED.

  1. Joe Joe

    Just a thought to help keep people informed and sort out some of the confusion. Everyone should know that the Federal Reserve IS NOT a part of our government. Do I need to repeat that for the uninformed? Ok, the Federal Reserve IS NOT a part of our government! Did you get it that time? They are in fact PRIVATE, NOT Federal!! They would have you believe they are with their name. If I were gonna come up with a name to dupe people, I couldn’t do a better job. I am absolutely amazed at how uninformed most Americans are. WAKE UP AMERICA!!! We are being taken over, and their pawns (puppets) have us in check. You know what comes next, and it won’t be pretty.

  2. Alan Burton

    Ironically Speaking!
    Capitalism Can Only Lead To Communism!

    Capitalism with Government Intervention has Financial Control over Human Life! Capitalism that uses a Currency without the controlled backing of Gold or Silver Creates Elite Groups which Control The Middle and Lower classes with help from the Federal Reserve System!
    Our Government of The People, By The People and For The People can still be an Excellent Government, as long as we put it back into our own hands. Changing a Government can be difficult but possible as long as all of the people stick together by continuous voting and writing to their political leaders.
    Government is controlled by the Rich Elite who have received their Wealth Through Greed. This is okay, but the rich want to stay in high political positions so they can use the Government to maintain their Wealth. Only the Wealthy can receive these political positions, since they are the only ones who can afford the publicity to get there.
    Once in a political position, they realize through greed the political decisions they have to make. Greed is human nature and very hard to control when there is a constant access to financial success from the Federal Reserve System.
    Every time the Rich Elite want something done, they do not want to use their money. Instead, they think of a problem that needs capital and then pay for it through our Government, which in turn ends up back into the hands of the Rich.
    The more problems they create – war, welfare, institutes, prisons, world affairs – means more money the Government has to borrow, which creates the deficit. This has to be paid through taxes, which means less pocket cash or printing excess Money from the Federal Reserve System, without Gold or Silver backing, which causes inflation. (Fiat Money/Currency)
    All this Money ends up in the hands of the Rich through the natural process of business transactions that make the Rich richer and the Greedy greedier. The Rich will control the Middle and Lower Classes because we will all be in debt to these people as long as our Government keeps borrowing, taxing or printing our money.
    This transaction is happening naturally worldwide because debt is the best way to control your fellow man. As soon as all the Governments are in debt to the Rich, we will be controlled by a World Government, which will make it easier for Big Business transactions. All mergers will end up with one winner like a Monopoly Game.
    After all this happens, the only thing left is the Antichrist. Is there any difference between this and Hitler’s Communistic State?
    Capitalism Can Only Lead To Communism!

    Alan Burton
    Dieterich, Ill.

  3. C. Barnes

    According to this article with in the continental U.S. we have roughly 293 billion dollars worth of cash (878.8b / 3 ) and from another source I found there are somewhere around 9 trillion dollars in deposits with in U.S. banks. Don’t everyone ask for their money at once. 🙂

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