What Is the Suriname Guilder (SRG)?

The Suriname guilder was the official currency of the South American nation of Suriname until 2004, when it was replaced by the Suriname dollar (SRD). Through this transfer, each newly issued Surinamese dollar replaced 1,000 SRGs.

Key Takeaways

  • The Suriname Guilder (SRG) was the national currency of Suriname.
  • It was replaced by the Suriname Dollar (SRD) in 2004.
  • The economy of Suriname is relatively underdeveloped and is heavily reliant on raw commodity exports.
  • Inflation has recently gripped the country, reaching 34.9% in 2020.

Understanding the SRG

Note that the cent coins representing fractions of one guilder remain in use, with denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 1 SRD, and 2.50 SRD. Rather than referring to fractions of an SRG, however, these coins now represent the same fraction of one SRD.

Surinamese guilders were named after the Dutch guilder, which was the currency of the Netherlands for almost 500 years prior to being replaced by the euro (EUR) in 2002. A former Dutch colony, Suriname is located on the northern coast of South America. It is bordered by Brazil in the south, with Guyana in the west and French Guiana in the east.

The Surinamese dollar was first introduced in January 2004 as Suriname's official currency, replacing the guilder at a rate of 1,000:1. Old coins based on the former currency stayed in circulation with the new dollar bills, largely for the sake of convenience and cost savings.

As an economically developing nation, Suriname's economy relies heavily on natural resources such as gold, bauxite, and oil, and it can be sensitive to changes in world commodity prices. The guilder itself experienced high inflation in the early 1990s, which was part of the rationale for the country's decision to replace it with the Surinamese dollar. Unfortunately, the SRD has recently also been gripped with severe inflation.

Real-World Example of the SRG

Ultimately, the strength of a national currency is based on the economic strength of its issuing nation. In the case of the SRG and its new replacement, the SRD, the economy of Suriname is relatively small and underdeveloped.

The country is heavily reliant on raw commodity production, with gold accounting for over 78% of total exports in 2019, with unprocessed wood and oil also being important (although making up far less of the total exports compared to gold, 5% and 3.8%, respectively).

Suriname has recently experienced a bout of extreme inflation, with annual inflation reaching over 34.9% in 2020. Unemployment, meanwhile, was 8.7% in 2020, with gross domestic product (GDP) currently at -14.5% per annum.