What is the 'MVR (Maldivian Rufiyaa)'

MVR (Maldivian Rufiyaa) is the national currency for the Republic of the Maldives or the Maldive Islands. The Maldivian rufiyaa is made up of 100 laari and often represented by the symbol Rf or MRF. The name rufiyaa comes from the Hindi Sanskrit word rupaya and translates to mean wrought silver.

BREAKING DOWN 'MVR (Maldivian Rufiyaa)'

​​​​​​​The Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR) originated in 1947 when it replaced the Ceylonese rupee at par. However, the laari, the subunit of the rufiyaa, was used in the Maldives much earlier and can be traced back to the 19th century. The central bank began circulation of paper rufiyaa banknotes in 1947, but the first rufiyaa coin did not come until 1983. Striving to increase the security of the currency, the Monetary Authority issued polymer banknotes.

The most commonly used forms of the MVR currency are the 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50-denomination coins. For banknotes, the people of the Maldives use 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 notes the most.

Maldivian monetary policy control falls to the central bank of the Maldives, the Maldives Monetary Authority. The authority also publishes the daily exchange rate from MVR to USD. The Maldives Monetary Authority central bank is a well-run and organized structure that releases monthly financial reports, monetary policies, and updates. One of the most common currency conversions is USD/MVR, which typically exchanges around one U.S. dollar (USD) for approximately fifteen MVR.

The earliest form of currency was the use of cowry shells, the shell of a sea snail. Later, embossed strips of silver acted as currency. The first coins circulated in the 1600s until they had a replacement with gold, silver coins. Bronze coins would eventually replace these coins until the introduction of the rufiyaa coin. 

Economy Backing for the Maldivian Rufiyaa

The Republic is made up of a chain of approximately 1,192 island atolls in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of India. The island country declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1965 and are a constitutional republic. Since independence, instability has wracked the country. Also, issues of rising sea levels due to climate change present a new challenge to the islands. 

In 1989, the government began working towards economic reforms to expand exports and encourage foreign investment. At one time, fishing was the primary driver of the Maldivian economy and provided nearly 90% of the country's income. Today, tourism shoulders much of the load. A tsunami in 2004 damaged the industry, but it has since rebounded. 

The Maldives is a financial and development success story. In the early 1980s, the Maldives ranked as one of the top 20 poorest countries in the world. As shown by this World Bank article, by 2012, the Maldives had reached a status as a middle-income country with a per capita income of over $6,300.

According to the 2017 World Bank data, the Republic of the Maldives is an upper-middle income country. They experience an 8.8% annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth with no inflation.

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