What is the MVR (Maldive Rufiyaa)

MVR (Maldive Rufiyaa) is the national currency for the Republic of Maldives. Representation of the rufiyaa in writing is Rf. The Maldives Monetary Authority, (MMA) issues and manages the money and is the primary domestic source of financing for the government’s operations.

In May 2018, one US dollar was equal to 15.51 MVR. Since 2011, the rate of exchange has remained reasonably consistent. Fluctuations ranged from 15.1 MVR to 1 USD, to 15.7 MVR to 1 USD.

BREAKING DOWN MVR (Maldive Rufiyaa)

Issued in 1947, the Maldive rufiyaa (MVR) replaced bronze coins currently in use as legal tender. However, coin production in the Maldives ceased, and the Ceylonese rupee, also known as the Sri Lankan rupee, became the currency of everyday use. At issue, the banknotes were in parity to the Ceylonese rupee. 

One Maldive rufiyaa (MVR) subdivides into 100 laari. This currency circulates in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rufiyaa. The first issues of banknotes had a top denomination of 100 rufiyaas.

Maldive Economy Impacts the MVR

The Republic of Maldives is an archipelago of 1,190 islands, situated in the Indian Ocean. Much of the country’s economy is based on tourism and fishing. Together, these two sectors account for about 40% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and one-third of all employment. According to the 2017 World Bank data, the Maldives experiences an annual 8.8% annual GDP growth. Due to a lack of mineral resources and the country's vulnerability to natural disasters such as cyclones, there is little industrial development in the Maldives.

The country also relies heavily on an expatriate labor force. Domestic workers only make up 50% of the labor required in the country, so skilled expatriate workers fill the need in the educational and medical fields. Citizens of the Maldives do not pay income, capital gains, or real estate taxes. Thus, the bulk of the country’s income comes from tourism taxes and import duties.

The Republic also relies on foreign financing for much of its development as the financial sector is limited, with only one locally owned commercial bank. Approximately 70 percent of the growth in recent years has funding from external sources including foreign non-governmental organizations. Much of this funding comes in the form of grants.