Suriname runs a persistent deficit on current accounts, which has generally been offset by development aid, mainly from the Netherlands, Belgium, and the EU. Remittances from some 200,000 Surinamese expatriates in the Netherlands are not apparent in the balance of payments because they are usually exchanged in the parallel market. In 1989, lower profitability in the bauxite sector led to a decline in remittances which was not offset by investment inflows, resulting in the first capital account surplus in many years. Foreign exchange reserves grew by 110%; from $10 million in 1989 to $21 million in 1990. Unfortunately, these reserves were squandered by the interim government during its nine-month rule and had fallen close to zero by July 1993. Suriname had a surplus of $66 million by 1996, but this figure declined to $25 million in 1997 and a deficit in 1998 due to a lack of development aid. Bauxite accounts for 70% of export earnings. Suriname's external debt stood at $512 million in 2000; the country's debt has increased significantly in recent years. Brazil and China are the largest debt holders.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 1999 the purchasing power parity of Suriname's exports was $399 million while imports totaled $525 million resulting in a trade deficit of $126 million.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 Suriname had exports of goods totaling $437 million and imports totaling $297 million. The services credit totaled $59 million and debit $175 million. The following table summarizes Suriname's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||140|
|Balance on services||-115|
|Balance on income||-108|
|Direct investment abroad||…|
|Direct investment in Suriname||-27|
|Portfolio investment assets||…|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||…|
|Other investment assets||41|
|Other investment liabilities||91|
|Net Errors and Omissions||56|
|Reserves and Related Items||-78|