Guyana lifts average growth rate in Region among commodity-exporting economies – CDB

…to dominate regional economic growth rate in 2022

Even while its regional neighbours faced shrinking economic growth, Guyana dominated the growth rate charts among commodity-exporting countries in the Region as its economy expanded.

CDB Director Ian Durant

This is according to Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Director of Economics, Ian Durant, during the bank’s virtual press conference on Tuesday. According to Durant, there was an average growth rate of 2.7 per cent among countries that export commodities, as opposed to countries whose economies are driven by services, like tourism for example.
“Among commodity-exporting countries, the average growth rate of 2.7 per cent was driven by Guyana, which recorded growth of 19.9 per cent. This performance reflected increased production in the expanding crude oil industry, with the non-oil segment growing by 4.6 per cent,” he said.
Durant also revealed that Suriname, one of Guyana’s continental neighbours, and Trinidad and Tobago, its immediate neighbour in the Caribbean Sea, saw their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate decline. Interestingly, he attributed part of Suriname’s economic decline to its protracted lockdowns and curfews to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is an approach the Dr Irfaan Ali led Government has steered clear of, instead facilitating the phased reopening of the economy and face-to-face interactions. In fact, Durant made it clear that continued economic growth would depend, among other things, on managing the COVID-19 pandemic without enforcing full and lengthy lockdowns.
“Conversely, GDP declined in Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. In Suriname, fiscal consolidation and exchange rate depreciation reduced domestic purchasing power. And together with protracted lockdowns and curfews caused the contraction in GDP.
“Similarly, GDP in Trinidad and Tobago fell because of lower natural gas production and its transmission to downstream industries, as well as the impact of mandated closures on service sector entities,” Durant further explained.
Looking forward, Durant said that Guyana’s economy was slated to grow by 47.5 per cent. In fact, he said that Guyana’s economic growth rate fuelled by oil and gas would dominate the Region’s overall 9.1 per cent expected growth rate for 2022.
Last week, when Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh presented the Government’s mega $552.9 billion budget to the National Assembly, he had announced that the real GDP grew by 19.9 per cent last year. According to him, this growth rate puts Guyana within the top percentile of fastest growing economies in 2021.
“Mr Speaker, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 19.9 per cent, while non-oil GDP is estimated to have grown by 4.6 per cent in 2021, despite the persistence of COVID-19 as well as the impact of the floods. With this rate of overall growth, Guyana is likely to be amongst the three fastest-growing economies worldwide in 2021.”
“Real GDP is projected to grow by 47.5 per cent, a rate of growth which no other country in the world is currently projected to achieve in 2022. This reflects the coming into operation of the second FPSO [Floating Production, Offloading and Storage] vessel, the <<<Liza Unity>>>, which will significantly ramp up oil production,” the Finance Minister also said.
Meanwhile, he had explained that the non-oil economy was expected to continue registering strong growth, projected to grow by 7.7 per cent this year. This, he explained, will be driven mainly by rebounds in rice cultivation and gold mining, as well as continued expansion in construction activity and wholesale and retail trade and repairs. (G3)