Analysis and News

Guyana’s Public Debt Stock grew 3.9% for 2021 first quarter

BY GEOCAP's Contributor: Richard Bhainie

The Co-operative Republic of Guyana total stock of public debt, which comprises both external and domestic debt, increased by 102.1 million USD, a 3.9 percent increase, for the first quarter of 2021, the period from the end of December, 2020 to the end of March, 2021.

This takes the country’s total stock of public debt to 2,694.3 USD, according to the Bank of Guyana in their Quarterly Report & Statistical Bulletin 2021 Q1, Volume 15, Number 1.

The stock of domestic debt grew by 16,060 million GYD or 6.1 percent, from 264,590 million GYD at end-December, 2020 to 280,650 million GYD at end-March, 2021, while the stock of external public debt grew by 1.9 percent to 1,345.9 million USD.

The Bank of Guyana reported that the domestic debt stock increased primarily on account of a rise in the central government’s gross overdraft with the Bank of Guyana.

There were six (6) treasury bill issues during the first quarter of 2021, five (5) of which were issued for fiscal support, totalling 29,000 million GYD and the remaining one issued for monetary policy, amounting to 1,160 million GYD.

The stock of 182-day remained stable at the end-December, 2020 position of 5,352 million GYD while and 364-day treasury bills remained at 74,594 million GYD, and there was no outstanding stock of 91-day treasury bills at the end of March 2021.

The central bank reported that the stock of debentures fell by 3.1 percent or 244 million GYD from its end-2020 position to 7,560 million GYD, but the central government’s gross overdraft at the Bank of Guyana increased by 179,645 million GYD or 10 percent while the stock of bonds remained unchanged at 12,323 million GYD.

On the other hand, the increase in the stock of external debt from 4.3 percent or 35 million USD is being credited to growth in the stock of multilateral debt.

This 4.3 percent growth primarily reflects the 6.6 percent or 37 million USD increase in the stock outstanding to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) resulting from disbursements of 41.8 million USD in the first quarter.

Conversely, the stock of bilateral debt fell by 2.1 percent or 9.7 million USD as a result of lower debt outstanding to China and Venezuela by 8 million USD and 1 million USD, respectively, to 238 million USD and 104 million USD, respectively, the Bank of Guyana says.

Mainly as a result of higher principal repayments for treasury bills issued for fiscal support between end-December, 2020 to end-March, 2021, domestic debt service payments increased by 28.3 percent or 6,494 million GYD to 29,439 million GYD at end-March 2021.

External debt service payments rose by 5.2 percent to 26 million USD, primarily on account of higher principal repayments to multilateral and bilateral creditors.

Since assuming office in August 2020, the new People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government of Guyana has already crafted a new Public Debt Policy for the period 2021 - 2024 intended to aid the country in the determination, establishment and upholding of the legal and institutional frameworks which govern sovereign borrowing and provides a broad framework to help consolidate the long-term sustainability of Guyana's debt.

After the new Government resumed office, the Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, identified that it is necessary to contract new financing, in order to provide essential relief and services to the populace, invest in growth-promoting infrastructure, and stimulate an overall resurgence of the non-oil economy, as he stated in the Public Debt Report 2020.

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