What is the MOP (Macanese Pataca)

Macanese pataca (MOP) is the currency for Macau. One Macanese pataca consists of 100 avo, and 10 avo are called a ho. Often presented with the symbol MOP$, for example as MOP$100, the Macanese Pataca is 100% backed by the foreign exchange reserves of the Hong Kong dollar.

BREAKING DOWN MOP (Macanese Pataca)

The Macanese Pataca (MOP) first circulated in Portuguese territories of China in 1894, replacing the Portuguese real at a rate of 450:1. The Macao Special Administration Region of the People's Republic of China (Macau) is one of several autonomous regions in China with a degree of self-governance and was a Portuguese colony. The name pataca is a Portuguese word that also referred to Mexican dollars, which in the second half of the 19th Century were the major coin in circulation and everyday use.

As with the Hong Kong dollar, a central bank does not issue The Macanese Pataca banknotes. Instead, two commercial banks, the Banco Nacional Ultramarino and the Bank of China, circulate and control the currency. The currency contains both Portuguese and Chinese printing.

Macau Background and History

Macau functions similarly to Hong Kong as a special administrative region (SAR) of greater China. This designation means Macau is an autonomous territory which operates under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. The policy allows Macau’s autonomy and the control over most of its governing and economic activities. Considered one of the most significant gateways for international commerce into mainland China, and second to only Hong Kong, the service sector dominates the local economy. Tourism and the gaming industry makes up a substantial portion of the industry.

The Portuguese settled in Macau in 1557. The area became a possession of Portugal in 1887 through the signing of the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking. One hundred years later, in 1987, Portugal and China signed an agreement to transfer sovereignty of Macau to China as a Special Administrative Region. 

Macau, like Hong Kong, is a free port city with no tariffs, a free market economy, and very low taxation. The Macanese pataca trades freely in the open market.

Macau itself has around 650,000 residents. Though it has a relatively small population, it boasts a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than the USD 65 billion and is one of Asia’s wealthiest areas, with a per capita GDP of more than USD 104,000.