DEFINITION of 'MOP'
MOP is the abbreviation for the Macanese pataca in terms of foreign exchange markets. The Monetary Authority of Macau regulates the amount of coins and currency in circulation. The Macanese pataca is tied to the Hong Kong dollar at a fixed rate of one Hong Kong dollar equivalent to 1.03 Macanese patacas.
BREAKING DOWN 'MOP'
As of April 2016, one Macanese pataca is worth approximately 12.5 American cents and, inversely, $1 is worth around 8 Macanese patacas. Macau began making its own currency in January 1906 with a series of bills, and then the Asian nation began minting coins in 1952. Smaller denominations include the ho, or one-tenth of a pataca, and the sin, or 0.01 of a pataca. Coinage comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 patacas, while larger values come in banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 patacas.
The Banco Nacional Ultramarino issued revamped banknotes in 2005, and then the Bank of China in Macau released limited-edition banknotes in 2008. A new series of 50-pataca banknotes went into circulation in 2009. Each denomination depicts one Macanese World Heritage site on the front, including Dom Pedro V Theatre, Guia Fortress and the A-Ma Temple. The back of each banknote shows the building of the Bank of China in Macau. Each banknote is a different color, ranging from blue, green and violet to red, orange and brown. Banknotes become slightly larger in size with increasing value.
Seven circulating coins feature a bat on the reverse (back) of the coin, and the word "Macau" in Chinese and Portuguese. Bats symbolize happiness in Chinese tradition. The lowest three denominations of coins show Chinese cultural icons, such as a dragon boat and the Chinese lion dance. The highest four coinage denominations depict four buildings important to Macau's history.
As of February 2016, the Monetary Authority of Macau reported 62.6 million Macanese patacas in circulation, including coins and currency. Other liquid assets contributed near 407 million patacas. At the end of 2014, banks in Macau stated they had 1.174 trillion patacas in assets, which totaled approximately $1.43 billion. Financial reserves reached 246.3 billion patacas, or $30.78 billion, while foreign reserves equaled 131.4 billion patacas, or approximately $16.4 billion.
Macau's economy relies on transportation, tourism and gaming. The rise of casinos in Macau, coupled with the easing of travel restrictions between Macau and China, has revitalized Macau's economy since 2005. Macau's deep ties with China explain the dependence on the Hong Kong dollar to back up the Macanese pataca as the smaller country's economy continues to grow.