That dollar amount reflects a -26.8% decrease from 2019 to 2020 but a 94.7% acceleration since 2016.
Guyana’s 5 biggest exports by value are crude oil, gold, rice, specially designed containers, and medication mixes in dosage. That cohort of leading exported goods account for 82.9% of money received for Guyana’s overall exports in 2020, and indicates a highly concentrated portfolio of exported products.
Guyana’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data for 2020 shows that 90.1% of products exported from Guyana were bought by importers in: United States (28.4% of the global total), Canada (14.9%), Trinidad/Tobago (10%), Jamaica (7.3%), United Arab Emirates (6.3%), Barbados (4.9%), Singapore (4.5%), China (4.2%), Venezuela (3.4%), United Kingdom (3%), Italy (2.1%) and Colombia (1.1%).
From a continental perspective, 43.4% of Guyana’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 30.8% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Guyana shipped another 15.5% worth of goods to Asia, with 10% going to Europe (10%).
Tinier percentages were delivered to Africa (0.2%) and Oceania led by New Zealand and Australia (0.1%).
Given Guyana’s population of 787,000 people, its total $2.81 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $3,600 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 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Guyana.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$1.1 billion (39.5% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $609.6 million (21.7%)
- Cereals: $259.1 million (9.2%)
- Railways, streetcars: $252.7 million (9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $103.7 million (3.7%)
- Ships, boats: $100.7 million (3.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $80.1 million (2.8%)
- Fish: $54.8 million (1.9%)
- Machinery including computers: $51.7 million (1.8%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $41.4 million (1.5%)
Guyana’s top 10 exports accounted for 94.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 13,430% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was pharmaceuticals via a 2,964% gain.
Guyana’s shipments of cereals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 55.3% propelled by stronger international sales of rice.
The leading decliner among Guyana’s top 10 export categories was the highly capital-intensive ships and boats category, thanks to a -90.7% drop year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, gold represents Guyana’s most valuable exported product (39.4% of the country’s total). Gold (21.6%) were a distant second trailed by rice (9.2%), special containers (9%), medication mixes in dosage (3.7%), light vessels, fire boats and floating docks (3.6%), aluminum ores and concentrates, alcohol (1.3%), machinery parts (1.2%) and frozen whole fish (1%).
In 2020, Guyana garnered a $320.2 million surplus reversing a -$2.1 billion deficit in 2019.
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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$718.8 million (Reversing a -$527.2 million deficit in 2019)
- Gems, precious metals: $609.2 million (Down by -12.1%)
- Railways, streetcars: $241.1 million (Down by -42.5%)
- Cereals: $236.3 million (Up by 55%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $89.9 million (Reversing a -$28.5 million deficit)
- Ores, slag, ash: $79.9 million (Down by -70.8%)
- Fish: $52.6 million (Down by -47.2%)
- Wood: $19.9 million (Down by -20.6%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $14.6 million (Down by -12.2%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $13.5 million (Up by 463.8%)
Guyana generated highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil. In turn, these cashflows indicate Guyana’s strong competitive advantage under the mineral fuels-related category.
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.
- Ships, boats: -US$330.3 million (Down by -80.3% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$279.5 million (Up by 19.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$170.7 million (Down by -21.7%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$130 million (Up by 255.2%)
- Vehicles: -$110.5 million (Down by -3.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$107.1 million (Up by 52.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$64.8 million (Down by -15.1%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$43.9 million (Up by 77.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$34.7 million (Down by -27.1%)
- Other chemical goods: -$27.7 million (Down by -72.1%)
Guyana has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the highly capital-intensive category titled ships and boats.
Guyanese Export Companies
Not one Guyanese corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2020.
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 18.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($15.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 18.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 13.1% for 2019. 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 average unemployment rate for 2020 was 15.8%, up from an average 11.9% one year earlier according to 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 August 30, 2021
Forbes 2020 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 30, 2021
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on August 30, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 30, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 30, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 30, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 30, 2021
Wikipedia, Guyana. Accessed on August 30, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Guyana. Accessed on August 30, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 30, 2021
WorldOMeter, Guyana Population. Accessed on August 30, 2021