What Is the Guyanese Dollar (GYD)?

The term Guyanese dollar (GYD) refers to the official currency of Guyana. Established in the 1800s as legal tender, the dollar is printed and maintained by the Bank of Guyana, the country's central bank. It is represented by the symbol $ and G$ and is commonly abbreviated as GYD on the foreign exchange market. The dollar is made up of 100 cents. Banknotes range in values between G$20 and G$5,000 while coins are minted between G$1 to G$100. Although the Guyanese dollar is not pegged to any other currency, the most common exchange is with the U.S. dollar.

Key Takeaways

  • The Guyanese dollar is the official currency of Guyana.
  • The currency is abbreviated as GYD and is represented by the symbols $ and G$.
  • Banknotes are printed in G$20, G$50, G$100, G$500, G$1,000, and $5,000 denominations while coins are minted in G$1, G$5, G$10, and $100 denominations.
  • The Bank of Guyana is the country's central bank and is responsible for printing and maintaining the dollar.

Understanding the Guyanese Dollar (GYD)

The Guyanese dollar (GYD) debuted in 1839 as a transitional currency from Dutch guilders to British pound sterling (GBP). The pound was used in Guyana and other territories of the British West Indies for many years. This largely remained until the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom on May 26, 1966—the year the GYD first appeared in its present form.

The central bank is responsible for monetary and fiscal policy in the country along with the printing and maintenance of the dollar. The Bank of Guyana was established in 1965 and is the only body permitted to issue and redeem banknotes and coins. The bank issues notes in G$20, G$50, G$100, G$500, G$1,000, and $5,000 denominations. Coins are minted in G$1, G$5, G$10, and $100 denominations.

There is very little movement in the exchange rate between the Guyanese and U.S. dollars. A single Guyanese dollar was worth US$0.0048 as of March 31, 2021. This means it takes about G$210 to get just over one full U.S. dollar.

Hard currency is heavily circulated within the country which is why it's a good idea to have cash on hand. Credit cards are rarely used outside major tourist areas in Georgetown and foreign cards are generally not accepted at automated teller machines (ATMs). Currency can be exchanged at banks and hotels. But foreign exchange offices or cambios generally offer better exchange rates. The majority of retailers in the tourist areas, including hotels and restaurants, accept U.S. dollars.

Special Considerations

Guyana has a population of about 785,000 and is located along the North Atlantic coast of South America. The country is known for its rainforests and for the commodity trade—notably sugar. More current exports include gold and bauxite, the latter of which is used in aluminum production.

An offshore oil discovery was made in 2015 by Exxon Mobil (XOM). The company said it expected the reserve to be worth 12 times the national economy. At the time of the discovery, the company said it had the potential to hold 700 million barrels of oil but increased that estimate to 3.2 billion barrels. Production began in 2019. The company said in 2020 that the facility may not be financially viable but remains committed to the project.

2.1%

Guyana's inflation rate, as of 2019.

As of 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was less than $5,000, which makes Guyana one of the poorest countries in South America. As such, there's very little interest in the GYD among currency traders in the global forex market. Trading volume remains very low on the list of top currency pairings. In fact, the Guyanese dollar isn't even a popular regional currency.