Guyana’s Top 10 Exports

Guyana flag (courtesy of

Guyana flag (

A country on South America’s north-central coast between Venezuela and Suriname, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana shipped US$1.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -17.1% downtick from 2017 to 2018 but a 26.4% gain since 2014.

Over three-quarters of products exported from Guyana by value were bought by importers in: Canada (26.9% of the global total), United States (15.3%), Panama (10.9%), United Arab Emirates (7.2%), Ukraine (5.3%), Jamaica (4%), Trinidad and Tobago (3.9%) and United Kingdom (3.2%).

From a continental perspective, 44.5% of Guyanese exports by value were delivered to North American countries. Another 24% worth was sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, with 20.6% going to Europe and 10.5% to Asia.

Given Guyana’s population of 740,685 people, its total $1.5 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $2,000 for every resident in the Latin American country.

In macroeconomic terms, Guyana’s total exported goods represent 22.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($6.7 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 22.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 26.7% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Guyana’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Guyana also provided $156.1 million worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 2.3% of GDP in PPP. These metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Guyana’s unemployment rate was forecast to be 11.9% at July 2019 down from 12% in 2018, as estimated by Trading Economics.

Guyana’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Guyanese global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Guyana.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$620.8 million (41.9% of total exports)
  2. Railways, streetcars: $184.2 million (12.4%)
  3. Ores, slag, ash: $171.4 million (11.6%)
  4. Cereals: $146.9 million (9.9%)
  5. Fish: $110.6 million (7.5%)
  6. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $74.7 million (5%)
  7. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $55.1 million (3.7%)
  8. Wood: $39 million (2.6%)
  9. Aircraft, spacecraft: $22.5 million (1.5%)
  10. Fruits, nuts: $10.2 million (0.7%)

Guyana’s top 10 exports accounted for 96.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Aircraft and spacecraft was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 81% year over year since 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was aluminum under the ores, slag and ash category via an 18.6% improvement.

Guyanese beverages, spirits and vinegar posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 14.1%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Guyanese export categories was sugar and sugar confectionery which fell -57.1%.

From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, gold represents Guyana’s most valuable exported product (41% of the total). Transportation containers were a distant second trailed by aluminum ores and concentrates, rice, sugar, crustaceans including lobsters, alcohol, fresh whole fish, aircraft, diamonds then sawn wood.


The following types of Guyanese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$620.7 million (Down by -6.2% since 2017)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: $171.3 million (Up by 18.6%)
  3. Railways, streetcars: $156.3 million (Down by -32.1%)
  4. Cereals: $118 million (Down by -27.7%)
  5. Fish: $109.9 million (Down by -0.9%)
  6. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $63.9 million (Down by -61.1%)
  7. Wood: $32 million (Down by -15.8%)
  8. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $22.5 million (Up by 38%)
  9. Fruits, nuts: $7.9 million (Down by -19.3%)
  10. Live animals: $1.6 million (Up by 100.3%)

Guyana has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold and, to a much lesser extent, diamonds. In turn, these cashflows indicate Guyana’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals product category.


Overall, Guyana incurred a -$2.5 billion product trade deficit for 2018 reversing a $28.1 million surplus one year earlier.

Below are exports from Guyana that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Guyana’s goods trail Guyanese importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Ships, boats: -US$1.5 billion (Reversing a $3.3 million surplus in 2017)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$473.1 million (Up by 24.9%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$379.2 million (Up by 74.4%)
  4. Other chemical goods: -$195.6 million (Up by 631.3%)
  5. Vehicles: -$132.7 million (Up by 30.7%)
  6. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$123.4 million (Up by 48.1%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: -$86.9 million (Up by 99.6%)
  8. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$64.9 million (Up by 72.7%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: -$60.6 million (Up by 15.5%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$47.5 million (Up by 9.3%)

Guyana has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the capital-intensive ships and boats category.


Guyanese Export Companies

Not one Guyanese corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2018.

Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Guyana. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Banks DIH (food products)
  • National Milling Co. of Guyana (food products)
  • Trans Guyana Airways (airliner)

Global trade portal Alibaba also lists exports-oriented companies headquartered in Guyana.

  • C&C Trading Guyana Co. (lumber)
  • Cummings Wood Products Ltd. (wood decking, flooring)
  • Guyana Farm Fresh (chili peppers)
  • Rice Guyana Inc. (rice, bran)
  • Trade One Guyana (fish)


Guyana’s capital city is Georgetown.

See also Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports, Brazil’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries

Research Sources:
Forbes 2018 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 14, 2019

Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on July 4, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 4, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 4, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 14, 2019

The World Factbook, South America: Guyana. Accessed on February 14, 2019

Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 4, 2019

Wikipedia, Guyana. Accessed on February 14, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Guyana. Accessed on February 14, 2019

Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 4, 2019

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Georgetown, Guyana. Accessed on February 14, 2019