Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, and which countries are dominant in the market.
Guyana is located on the northeast Atlantic coast of South America and is bordered by Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil. It is the only English-speaking country on the continent. Despite, its geographic location in South America, Guyana is considered a Caribbean country due to its political and cultural history. The capital, Georgetown, hosts the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Secretariat. Guyana is emerging as an attractive potential market given its rapid economic growth spurred by the 2015 discovery of oil. Guyana boasts many natural resources including oil and gold. Guyana is roughly the size of Idaho but with a small population of nearly 800,000, 70 percent of whom live on the narrow coastal plain. The interior remains sparsely populated and features intact rainforests and savannahs.
The Economic Environment:
Guyana’s macroeconomic environment remains stable and presents diverse opportunities for investment. In 2021, Guyana recorded 19.9 percent GDP growth fueled by oil and gas development. Non-oil GDP recovered, growing by 4.6 percent in 2021 despite economic headwinds caused by the pandemic, global supply chain constraints, and severe nationwide floods. Guyana’s total GDP is anticipated to grow by a further 57.8 percent in 2022. Guyana’s inflation rate is projected to be 5.7 percent for calendar year 2022. The Government of Guyana (GoG) maintains an expansionary fiscal policy. Guyana’s currency remains relatively stable, and Guyana’s foreign exchange midrate remained unchanged in 2021 at GYD $208.5 to USD $1. Private sector credit grew by 10.4 percent in 2021. The Capital Adequacy Ratio for Licensed Depository Financial Institutions remains well above the eight percent benchmark. The banking sector remains highly profitable in Guyana, with political leadership calling for financial institutions to lend more and at lower rates. Foreign Direct Investment into Guyana grew by 110 percent driven by oil and gas-related investments. Guyana’s market capitalization grew by approximately 46 percent in 2021, but challenges remain for companies seeking to list on the local stock exchange. Approximately 87 percent of Guyana’s landmass is covered intact forests, which the GoG seeks to leverage via carbon credit programs and thereby incentivize their preservation. Proceeds from these carbon credit programs will be invested in renewable energy development programs, and other emissions reduction initiatives as part of the government’s broader Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
ExxonMobil made additional discoveries of oil in 2022 and consequently upgraded its estimate of total recoverable resources in the massive offshore Stabroek block to nearly 11 billion barrels. In 2021, the GoG passed the Local Content Act (LCA) into law, which mandates 40 service lines, and products, related to the oil and gas industry must be procured from Guyanese-owned and operated companies. The LCA also requires companies to seek approval from the Local Content Secretariat for any sole source procurements worth $500 or more. Also, in 2021 the GoG repealed and replaced its existing sovereign wealth fund legislation, the Natural Resources Fund Act (NRF), to allow the government greater access to withdraw its oil revenues to fund the government’s development priorities. The NRF contained $607 million as of December 2021 and some estimate it could earn over $73 billion over the lifespan of oil and gas production in Guyanese waters.
The United States is Guyana’s largest trading partner. Guyana’s largest imports from the United States are fuels and lubricants, equipment, and cement. Guyana’s major exports are oil, gold, rice, fish, timber, and sugar.