A country on South America’s north-central coast between Venezuela and Suriname, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana shipped an estimated US$939.1 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -36.7% downtick from 2018 to 2019 and a -27% decline since 2015.
The latest available country-specific data for 2018 shows that 85.6% of products exported from Guyana 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%), United Kingdom (3.2%), Belgium (2.7%), Mexico (2.3%), Germany (2%) and Netherlands (1.9%).
From a continental perspective, 44.5% of Guyana’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 24% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Guyana shipped another 20.6% worth of goods to Europe. Smaller percentages went to Asia (10.5%), Africa (0.2%), and Oceania led by New Zealand and Australia (0.1%).
Given Guyana’s population of 782,766 people, its total $939.1 million in 2019 exports translates to roughly $1,200 for every resident in the Latin American country.
Guyana’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Guyanese global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Guyana.
- Gems, precious metals: US$483.1 million (51.4% of total exports)
- Ores, slag, ash: $97.6 million (10.4%)
- Cereals: $91.3 million (9.7%)
- Fish: $88.2 million (9.4%)
- Wood: $42.6 million (4.5%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $41.5 million (4.4%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $29.4 million (3.1%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $17.1 million (1.8%)
- Live animals: $4.5 million (0.5%)
- Iron, steel: $4.2 million (0.5%)
Guyana’s top 10 exports accounted for 95.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Salt, sulphur, stone and cement represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 566.4% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were live animals via a 160.9% gain. Guyana’s shipments of iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 74.8%.
The leading decliner among Guyana’s top 10 export categories was sugar including sugar confectionery, thanks to a -60.6% annual drop.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, gold represents Guyana’s most valuable exported product (50.3% of the country’s total). Aluminum ores and concentrates (10.1%) were a distant second trailed by rice (9.7%), crustaceans including lobsters (4.2%), alcohol (3.4%), sugar (3%), rough wood (2.6%) and frozen whole fish (2.1%).
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.
- Gems, precious metals: US$482.2 million (Down by -22.3% since 2018)
- Ores, slag, ash: $97.3 million (Down by -43.2%)
- Fish: $83.1 million (Down by -24.3%)
- Cereals: $75.9 million (Down by -35.7%)
- Wood: $36.2 million (Up by 13%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $32 million (Up by 42.6%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $23.5 million (Down by -63.1%)
- Live animals: $4.4 million (Up by 179.6%)
- Copper: $789,000 (Reversing a -$1.3 million deficit)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $109,000 (Reversing a -$56,000 deficit)
Guyana generated 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 -$567.5 million product trade deficit for 2019 down -77.3% from -$2.5 billion in red ink 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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$332 million (Down by -12.5% since 2018)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$160.2 million (Up by 84.1%)
- Vehicles: -$107.8 million (Down by -18.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$99.8 million (Down by -19.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$67.5 million (Up by 11.3%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$39.5 million (Down by -16.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$37.3 million (Down by -92.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$35.5 million (Down by -17.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$25.8 million (Down by -39%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$25 million (Up by 10.4%)
Guyana has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers product category.
Guyanese Export Companies
Not one Guyanese corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2019.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Guyana’s total exported goods represent 13.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($7.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 13.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 22.3% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Guyana’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Guyana’s unemployment rate was forecast to be 13.8% for 2019, up from 11.9% one year earlier as estimated by Trading Economics.
Guyana’s capital city is Georgetown.
See also Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports, Brazil’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook South America: Guyana. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Forbes 2019 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on June 4, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 4, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Guyana. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Guyana. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 4, 2020
WorldOMeter, Guyana Population. Accessed on June 4, 2020