|Large construction vehicles|
Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a sovereign state on the northern mainland of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west. With 215,000 square kilometers (83,000 sq. mi), Guyana is the fourth-smallest country on mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname and French Guiana. The region known as "Guyana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters".
The Bank of Guyana is the central bank. In addition to the Bank of Guyana, seven commercial banks operate in the country. Three of them are foreign-owned, namely, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Nova Scotia, and The National Bank for Industry and Commerce (NIBC). In April 1994, the government sold its shares in the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI). In November 1994 the Demerara Bank (a private, domestic bank) and the Citizen's Bank started operations.
Further liberalization of the financial sector occurred in April 1995 when Parliament approved the Financial Institutions Act of 1995. The new legislation aimed to tighten the supervisory and regulatory framework of the financial system. The NIBIC, one of Guyana's largest banks, was offered for privatization in 1996. By 2002, only one state-owned bank remained: the Guyana National Cooperative Bank (GNCB). The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate is commonly known as M1—were equal to $139.3 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $513.2 million. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 8.8%.
|Agriculture||Pharmaceuticals, bauxite, rice milling, timber, textiles and gold mining.|
|Manufacture||Sugarcane, rice, edible oils, beef, pork, poultry, shrimp & fish|
|Services (Including financial)||40.3% (2013 est.)|
|Banks DIH||Food & Beverages|
|Bank of Guyana||Banking|
|Guyana Sugar Corporation||Sugar|
|Guyana Power & Light||Utility|
|Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company||Telecom|
|Large construction vehicles|
The Guyana Stock Exchange is the newest exchange in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc of countries. Trading began June 30, 2003, and takes place weekly via word of mouth on the trading floor supported by an electronic limit order book. Several companies in Trinidad and Tobago (such as RBTT) have considered cross-listing themselves on the Guyana Stock Exchange. Trinidad Cement Limited became the first to do so early in January 2007. The Guyana Association of Securities Companies and Intermediaries Inc. (GASCI) operates the. GASCI is registered with the Guyana Securities Council. As of December 27, 2007, the market capitalization of the local stocks stood at US$275.3M. GASCI is the abbreviation for The Guyana Association of Securities Companies and Intermediaries Inc. This company is the local stock exchange that organizes and supervises the stock market in Guyana. GASCI consists of four member firms which trade (i.e. provide broker services for customers who wish to buy and sell shares) on the stock market and these are Trust Company (Guyana) Ltd, Guyana Americas Merchant Bank Inc., Beharry Stockbrokers Ltd and Hand-in-Hand Trust Corporation Inc. (formerly GNCB Trust Corporation Inc.). Trust Company (Guyana) Ltd, Beharry Stockbrokers Ltd, and Hand-in-Hand Trust Corporation Inc. are also represented on the Board of Directors of GASCI. The member firms of GASCI are registered as Brokers with the Guyana Securities Council.
The financial crisis has been unfolding and intensifying over the past several months and a lot has been written by journalists and experts on the origin of the crisis and the mode of its international transmission from the USA and thence to Europe, Asia and emerging market economies in Latin America, to become to date a US$ 3.2 trillion bailout cum privatization of financial institutions, in addition to various guarantees and support measures, and consolidations and mergers among the institutions themselves. The dependence of key Guyana exports including sugar, rice, bauxite, gold and wood products on a few traditional markets in Europe and North America has created a “trade vulnerability” that could adversely affect the Guyana goods sector in light of the global financial crisis.
The Guyanese economist also expressed concern over what he says is likely to be a contraction in the flow of remittances to Guyana arising out of the current crisis. Noting that the majority of the approximately $US424m in remittances to Guyana last year – representing as much as 43 percent of GNP that the likely reduction in remittance flows was a further factor that could impact on the Guyana economy. Since remittances are primarily out of income earned, the severe downturn centering on the USA, the main destination of the Diaspora, will have an almost immediate impact and is likely to persist beyond the period of the recession until asset items foregone are acquired by the metropolitan-based remitters. The Guyanese economist also expressed concern that, arising out of the current global financial crisis the Guyana economy could also experience a reduction in inward investment flows which he said averaged nearly $US100m over the past three years. Large projects involving a considerable financial outlay are likely to be the ones most affected although ongoing projects would tend to be continued until the completion stage.
The financial sector is said to be made up of commercial banks and near banks, insurance companies and other institutional investors, and the securities sector. Commercial banks in a country like Guyana are fairly insulated from the global financial crisis because they are not holders of the toxic mortgage-backed securities which have depreciated in value. Also, the banking system does not have branches, or even stand-alone subsidiaries, of the worse hit foreign banks and correspondent banking relationships for facilitating day-to-day trading transactions are mostly intact. However, there is a danger that the local banks may become even more risk averse than they are today and will gravitate towards holding more liquid assets and fixed income government securities, and away from start-up ventures and the more risky activities that lack assured outcomes or adequate collateral. In any event, in a worst-case scenario, the Government should be prepared to perform its role of ‘ lender of last resort’ The current global financial crisis should also cause the Government to revisit the issue of introducing depositors’ insurance, moral hazard notwithstanding. Similar consideration could be given to savings in credit unions since there could be substitution between the two outlets, depending on depositors’ perceived levels of relative safety. With respect to the insurance sector, a lack of sufficient disclosure and transparency makes it difficult to determine whether any toxic mortgage-backed securities are being held locally. However, it is possible that some of the major industrial, commercial and public utilities assets are insured by the distressed giant, American International Group (AIG) as is the case in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, via a cross-border supply process operated by agents who have been termed “suitcase traders”.
In any event, reinsurance costs are likely to increase for all local insurance companies because of uncertainty in the global economy. One unexpected benefit of the global financial crisis could be that institutional investors like insurance companies, pension funds, investment banks and mutual funds (that experience a fall in income on foreign-held assets) might want to hold a greater proportion of local or regional assets, with spin-off benefits for local capital market development. Up to now, the statutory portfolio requirement that institutional investors should, for prudential reasons, adhere to a certain minimum local assets ratio, has been honored more in the breach. The Guyana securities sector, therefore, may paradoxically benefit from the stress and volatility in the global financial markets, with both a larger proportion of funds being retained locally and, also, a reduced tendency for individual savers to hold asset balances abroad, and a reduced tendency of commercial enterprises to engage in capital flight.
Originally inhabited by several indigenous groups, Guyana was settled by the Dutch before coming under British control in the late 18th century. It was governed as the plantation economy of British Guiana until independence in 1966, and officially became a republic within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. The legacy of British rule is reflected in the country's diverse population, which includes Indian, African, Amerindian, and multiracial groups.
Guyana also has the distinction of being the only South American nation in which English is the official language. The majority of the population, however, speak Guyanese Creole, an English-based creole language with slight Dutch, Arawakan and Caribbean influences. In addition to being part of the Anglophone Caribbean, Guyana is one of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island in the West Indies. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which Guyana is a member, is headquartered in Guyana's capital and largest city, Georgetown. In 2008, the country joined the Union of South American Nations as a founding member. Since its Independence in 1824 Venezuela has claimed the area of land to the west of the Essequibo River. Simon Bolívar wrote to the British government warning against the Berbice and Demerara settlers settling on land which the Venezuelans, as assumed heirs of Spanish claims on the area dating to the sixteenth century, claimed was theirs. In 1899 an international tribunal ruled the land belonged to Great Britain. The border disputes persist and no final settlement has been reached.
Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966 and became a republic on 23 February 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth. The US State Department and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing political control in Guyana during this time. The American government supported Forbes Burnham during the early years of independence because Cheddi Jagan was identified as a Marxist. They provided secret financial support and political campaign advice to Burnham's People's National Congress, to the detriment of the Jagan-led People's Progressive Party, which was mostly supported by Guyanese of East Indian background. In 1978, Guyana received international notice when 918 members of the American cult, Peoples Temple, died in a mass murder/suicide. Most of the suicides were American and more than 300 children were killed; the people were members of a group led by Jim Jones in Jonestown, the settlement which they had created. Jim Jones's bodyguards had earlier attacked people taking off at a small remote airstrip close to Jonestown, killing five people, including Leo Ryan, the only US congressman ever assassinated in the line of duty. In May 2008, President Bharrat Jagdeo was a signatory to the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations. Guyana has ratified the treaty.
Jan Ernst Matzeliger
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The Guyanese dollar (GYD) has been the unit of account in Guyana (formerly British Guiana) since 29 January 1839. Originally it was intended as a transitional unit to facilitate the changeover from the Dutch guilder system of currency to the British pound sterling system. The Spanish dollar was already prevalent throughout the West Indies in general, and from 1839, the Spanish dollar unit operated in British Guiana in conjunction with British sterling coins at a standard conversion rate of one dollar for every four shillings and two pence. In 1951 the British sterling coinage was replaced with a new decimal coinage which was simultaneously introduced through all the British territories in the Eastern Caribbean. When sterling began to depreciate in the early 1970s, a switch to a US dollar peg became increasingly attractive as an anti-inflationary measure and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Authority (of which Guyana was a member) made the switch in October 1975. The Guyanese dollar is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively G$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies.
The history of the Guyanese dollar should not be considered in isolation of the wider picture surrounding the history of currency in the British West Indies as a whole. The aspects of that history that are peculiar to British Guiana are the continued use of the fourpence groat coin when all other territories had abandoned it, and also the use of dollar accounts in both the public and private sectors since 1839. In the other Eastern Caribbean territories, there was a mixture of dollar and sterling accounts until the year 1951. The Dutch territories of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice on the north coast of South America, created in early 17th century, came under the control of the British during the Napoleonic wars. These territories were formally ceded to the United Kingdom in 1815 and united to become the colony of British Guiana in 1831. At first, the British introduced a British variety of the Dutch guilder currency into this territory. Then in 1839, the Spanish dollar as a unit of account was introduced in order to facilitate the introduction of British sterling silver coinage. The rationale behind this lies in the fact that Spanish silver dollars, alternatively known as pieces of eight, were already circulating alongside the Dutch coinage, and also widely throughout the Eastern Caribbean. The dollar unit of account, therefore, acted as a convenient intermediary conversion unit between sterling and the outgoing guilder unit. The dollar unit was equivalent to 4 shillings 2 pence sterling and replaced the guilder unit at a rate of 1 dollar = 3? guilder.
After the introduction of the dollar, regular British coins circulated, together with 2 and 4 pence coins also issued elsewhere in the British West Indies. The 2 pence coins issued in 1838, 1843 and 1848 were of the standard Maundy money type, whilst the 4 pence coins bore an image of Britannia. Between 1891 and 1916, 4 pence coins were issued specifically for "British Guiana and West Indies" and between 1917 and 1945 for "British Guiana". 1916 also saw the first issue of paper money by the Government of British Guiana, in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 20 and 100 dollars. In 1967, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents. The 1 and 5 cents were struck in nickel brass, with the other denominations struck in cupro-nickel. In 1996, high inflation caused the introduction of 1, 5 and 10 dollars coins. The 1 and 5 dollars are struck in copper-plated steel, whilst the 10 dollars is struck in nickel-plated steel and has an equilateral-curved heptagonal shape.
Private banknotes were introduced in the late 19th century by the British Guiana Bank and the Colonial Bank. Both issued 5, 20 and 100 dollars. The British Guiana Bank issued notes until 1907, with the Colonial Bank issuing notes until 1917. The Colonial Bank was taken over by Barclays Bank, which issued notes in denominates of 5, 10, 20 and 100 dollars between 1926 and 1941. In 1909, the Royal Bank of Canada introduced 100 dollars notes, followed in 1913 by 5 and 20 dollars notes. From 1920, the notes also bore the denomination in sterling. 100 dollars were issued until 1920, with the 5 and 20 dollars issued until 1938.
Paper money production specifically for British Guiana ceased in 1942 and local notes were replaced by BWI$ notes in 1951. In 1955, the BWI$ was decimalized and coinage was issued in the name of the "British Caribbean Territories, Eastern Group". In 1965, the East Caribbean dollar (EC$) replaced the BWI$ and circulated in British Guiana for a year until, following independence in 1966, the Guyanese dollar was introduced, replacing the East Caribbean dollar at par. Banknotes were introduced on 15 November 1965 in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 dollars. A second series issued between 1988 and 1992 consisted of 20, 100, and 500 dollar denominations. The 1996-1999 series included 20, 100, 500, and 1000 dollars. The 2000-2002 series included 500 and 1000 dollar notes. New banknotes of 100 and 1000 dollars were issued on 29 March 2006. The 100-dollar note is similar to the preceding issue of the same denomination, except the design has been slightly modified with larger numerals for the denomination in the upper left front corner, a different screen trap background pattern, and shortened printer imprint. Both notes now have designs that extend to the borders and watermarks that include an electrotype map of Guyana. The 2011 issue included 500 and 1000 dollars with brand new security features, the most notable is the holographic stripe with a colorful macaw replacing the OVD patch used on the previous issues. On November 15, 2013, the Bank of Guyana has unveiled the 5,000-dollar note which was issued on December 9. However, there have not been any plans for a circulating non-commemorative 10,000-dollar note for Guyana as of yet.
|National Song||"Dear Land of Guyana, of Rivers and Plains"|
|Currency||Guyanese dollar (GYD)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||6.046 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||3 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$7872.869 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
East Indian 43.5%
Black (African) 30.2%
President – David A. Granger[α]
Prime Minister – Moses Nagamootoo
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||48.306 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||11.435 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|