Business

In times of financial uncertainty, cash is king

Fear about the future amid global economic uncertainty may be driving a demand for US currency.
Fear about the future amid global economic uncertainty may be driving a demand for US currency.AFP/Getty Images

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The proliferation of credit and debit cards, Square, mobile payments, PayPal, and other technology means good old paper currency is dying, right?

Wrong.

The economic and financial upheaval of the past half-decade has made people in the United States and all over the world hungry for US dollars — the paper kind.

On June 26, the amount of US currency in circulation reached a recored high of $1.19 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.

What’s been driving this trend? Fear, probably.

Amid the recession and financial crisis from 2007 through 2009, the total amount of currency in circulation skyrocketed, even as the US economy was shrinking. The currency level also had jumped at previous financially stressful moments, such as during the Y2K scare.

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