Picture: Reuters.

Frankfurt - The number of counterfeit euro banknotes withdrawn from circulation dropped in the first six months of this year, the European Central Bank said on Friday, but warned the public to watch for fakes.

A total of 331,000 fake banknotes were removed from circulation in the period from January to June, a decline of 6.2 percent from the second half of 2013, the Frankfurt-based institution said in its twice-yearly counterfeits survey.

“Overall, the number of counterfeits remained very low compared with the number of genuine banknotes in circulation during that period - over 16 billion,” the ECB said.

However, the bank “continues to advise people to pay attention to the notes they receive,” it added. - Sapa-AFP