Suriname is the smallest nation in South America, and is categorized as an upper middle-income country and among the best performing economies in South America in the past decade. Between 2004 and 2014, the economy grew at an average rate of 4.3%, reaching a per capita income of US$9,680. The economy largely depends on the export of natural resources including gold, oil, alumina, and bauxite. This dependence on exports has left the economy vulnerable to imported inflation and price shocks brought about by fluctuating world prices of commodities. Half the country's workforce is employed by the public sector, and state-owned firms dominate the market. The financial system is still underdeveloped and controlled by the government. In 2002, the government doubled the wages of all government employees, and economists have expressed concerns over the government's ability to offset these increased expenses.
History of Currency in Suriname
The Surinamese dollar was introduced in 2004, and replaced the Surinamese guilder. The Surinamese guilder was on par with the Dutch guilder, and after the occupation of Netherlands in World War II, which began in 1940, both currencies were pegged to the United States dollar at a rate of 1 dollar = 1.88585 guilders. In the early 1990s, the glider experienced a high rate of inflation and on 1 January 2004, it was replaced by the Surinamese dollar at a rate of 1 dollar = 1000 guilders. As at the time of replacement, only coins were available due to a delay in printing the notes by the Canadian Bank Note Company. Guilder coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents retained their value in the new cents. This meant that a 25-cent guilder coin would be worth 1⁄4 dollar, which represented 250 guilders. In 2011, the Suriname dollar (SRD) was pegged to the USD at a rate of 1 USD =0.3.25 SRD. In November 2015, the currency was devalued, and the pegged at of 1 USD = 4.0 SRD, and in 2016 the peg was further moved to 1 USD = 7.46 SRD.
The Central Bank of Suriname assumed the role of producing paper money in 1957, and issued banknotes in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 100 and 1,000 guilders. In 1982, the 500 guilder note was introduced, followed by a 250 guilder note in 1988, a 2,000 guilder note in 1995, a 5,000 guilder note in 1997, and a 25,000 guilder note in 2000. The last series of the guilder notes, which bear the portrait of native birds and flowers, were issued in 2000 in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 100, 500, 1,000, 5000, 10,000 and 25,000 guilders. After the introduction of the Surinamese dollar in 2004, new notes were issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 dollars.
Until 1942, Suriname used Dutch coins, and then coins made by the United States for use in various Dutch colonies. Beginning 1962, coins bearing the name Suriname were minted and circulated in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents, as well as 1 guilder. In 1987, the 250 cent coin was introduced. Despite the introduction of the Surinamese dollar in 2004, existing coins from the previous currencies remain in circulation.
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