That dollar amount reflects a 137.5% acceleration since 2017 and a 50.8% uptick from 2020 to 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Guyanese dollar depreciated by -1% against the US dollar since 2017. Guyana’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers during 2021.
At the more detailed 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Guyana’s 10 biggest exports by value are crude oil, gold, rice, specially designed containers, aluminum ores and concentrates, alcoholic beverages, medication mixes in dosage, sawn wood, frozen whole fish, and exported sugar. That cohort of leading goods shipped from Guyana accounted for 96.6% of money received for Guyana’s overall exports in 2020. Such a high percentage indicates a highly concentrated portfolio of exported products.
Guyana’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data for 2021 shows that 95.7% of products exported from Guyana were bought by importers in: the United States of America (42% of the global total), Singapore (16.5%), United Arab Emirates (6.9%), United Kingdom (also 6.9%), Canada (6.6%), Barbados (also 6.6%), India (3.5%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.4%), Venezuela (1.5%), Jamaica (1.1%), Colombia (1%) and Portugal (0.8%).
From a continental perspective, 48.7% of Guyana’s exports by value were delivered to North American countries while 27.3% were sold to importers in Asia. Guyana shipped another 14% worth of goods to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, with 9.9% going to Europe (9.9%).
Tinier percentages were delivered to Oceania (0.1%) led by New Zealand and Australia and Africa (0.04%).
Given Guyana’s population of 789,000 people, its total $4.24 billion in 2021 exports translates to about $5,400 for every resident in the Latin American country. That per-capita dollar amount exceeds the average $3,600 one year earlier in 2020.
Guyana’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Guyanese global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Guyana.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$2.9 billion (69.1% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $559.1 million (13.2%)
- Cereals: $207.8 million (4.9%)
- Railways, streetcars: $176.5 million (4.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $79.3 million (1.9%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $60.1 million (1.4%)
- Wood: $44.3 million (1%)
- Fish: $41.1 million (1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $37.1 million (0.9%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $19.6 million (0.5%)
Guyana’s top 10 exports accounted for 98% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 163.8% from 2020 to 2021. That leading product category was propelled by higher international sales of crude oil.
In second place for improving export sales was wood via a 66.6% gain.
Guyana’s shipments of beverages, spirits and vinegar (up 45.2%) was the only other top export category to record an increase since 2020.
The leading decliner among Guyana’s top 10 export categories was pharmaceuticals thanks to a -64.2% drop year over year.
Crude oil represents Guyana’s most valuable exported product (69.1% of the country’s total). Gold (13.1%) were a distant second trailed by rice (4.9%), special containers (4.2%), aluminum ores and concentrates (1.9%), alcoholic beverages (1.1%), medication mixes in dosage (0.9%), sawn (0.7%), machinery parts (1.2%), frozen whole fish (0.5%) and exported sugar (also 0.5%).
Products Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Guyana
In 2021, Guyana garnered a $97.4 million surplus reversing a $320.2 billion surplus in 2020.
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$2.3 billion (Up by 222.5% since 2020)
- Gems, precious metals: $559 million (Down by -8.2%)
- Railways, streetcars: $170.2 million (Down by -29.4%)
- Cereals: $162.6 million (Down by -31.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $79.3 million (Down by -0.8%)
- Fish: $40.2 million (Down by -23.7%)
- Wood: $36.6 million (Up by 83.8%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $7.8 million (Down by -46.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.7 million (Up by 9.1%)
- Live animals: $769,000 (Up by 47.9%)
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.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Guyana
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$1.7 billion (Up by 401% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$318.7 million (Up by 14%)
- Vehicles: -$186.4 million (Up by 68.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$132.3 million (Up by 23.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$87.5 million (Up by 35%)
- Iron, steel: -$73 million (Up by 110.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$59.7 million (Down by -65%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$56.9 million (Down by -56.2%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$52.3 million (Up by 19%)
- Other chemical goods: -$48.2 million (Up by 74.2%)
Guyana has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the highly capital-intensive category titled ships and boats.
Guyana’s Export Companies
Not one Guyanese corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2021.
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 21.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($19.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 21.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 18.2% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing 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 was a forecasted 13.9% for 2021, down from an average 15.8% one year earlier in 2020 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 April 5, 2022
Forbes 2021 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 5, 2022
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on April 5, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 5, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 5, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 5, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Guyana. Accessed on April 5, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Guyana. Accessed on April 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 5, 2022
WorldOMeter, Guyana Population. Accessed on April 5, 2022