Economy - overview: Suriname’s economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of oil and gold accounting for approximately 85% of exports and 27% of government revenues. This makes the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. The worldwide drop in international commodity prices and the cessation of alumina mining in Suriname significantly reduced government revenue and national income during the past few years. After 99 years of operations, a major US aluminum company recently discontinued its activities in Suriname. Public sector revenues fell, together with exports, international reserves, employment, and private sector investment.
Economic growth declined annually from just under 5% in 2012 to -10.4% in 2016. In January 2011, the government devalued the currency by 20% and raised taxes to reduce the budget deficit. Suriname began instituting macro adjustments between September 2015 and 2016; these included another 20% currency devaluation in November 2015 and foreign currency interventions by the Central Bank until March 2016, after which time the Bank allowed the Surinamese dollar (SRD) to float. By December 2016, the SRD had lost 46% of its value against the dollar. High import price pass-through from depreciation and electricity tariff increases caused inflation to increase 55.5% year-over-year in December 2016.
Suriname's economic prospects for the medium-term will depend on continued commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and on the introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition. The government's over-reliance on revenue from the extractive sector colors Suriname's economic outlook. One credit bureau forecasted that the economy would contract 2% in 2017. Rising international oil prices and higher production by Suriname’s oil company, Staatsolie’s, will lift oil exports. Two new offshore oil exploration wells will draw 100 million dollars in foreign direct investment inflows. Higher gold prices and increased production from the Merian gold mine also will lift exports. However, investment overall is slowing and unemployment is rising, reflecting government spending cuts, weak business confidence, and the completion of large mining infrastructure projects. Fiscal problems, such as a failure to secure sufficient external financing, could result in additional pressure on the exchange rate and inflation.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on January 20, 2018