World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Economy of Uruguay

Article Id: WHEBN0000031848
Reproduction Date:

Title: Economy of Uruguay  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Tourism in Uruguay, Uruguay, Foreign relations of Uruguay, Telecommunications in Uruguay, Transport in Uruguay
Collection: Economy of Uruguay, World Trade Organization Member Economies
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Economy of Uruguay

Economy of Uruguay
Skyline of Montevideo
Currency Uruguayan peso ($, UYU)
Calendar year
Population 3,407,062 (2013 est.)World Data Bank. Uruguay
GDP Increase$55.71 billion (2013 est.)[1]
GDP growth
Increase4.4% (2012 est.)[2]
GDP per capita
Increase$18,930 (PPP, 2013 est.)[1]
GDP by sector
agriculture: 7.5%; industry: 21.5%; services: 71% (2013 est.)[2][3]
Steady8.6% (CPI, 2013 est.)
Population below poverty line
18.6% (2010)
45.3 (2010)
Labour force
1.7 million (2013 est.)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 13%; industry: 14%; services: 73% (2010 est.)
Unemployment Increase6.0% (2013 est.)[4]
Main industries
food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Exports Increase$9.812 billion (2012 est.)
Export goods
beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products, wool
Main export partners
 Brazil 18.5%
 China 17.9%
 Argentina 6.8%
 Germany 4.3% (2012 est.)[4]
Imports Increase$10.97 billion (2012 est.)
Import goods
refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones
Main import partners
 China 16.1%
 Argentina 15.8%
 Brazil 14.6%
 United States 8.9%
 Paraguay 7.6% (2012 est.)[5]
FDI stock
Increase$15.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Increase$15.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Public finances
57.2% of GDP (2012 est.)Note: data cover general government debt, and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions.
Revenues $14.28 billion (2012 est.)
Expenses $15.07 billion (2012 est.)
  • Standard & Poor's:[6]
    BB (Domestic)
    BB (Foreign)
    BBB- (T&C Assessment)
    Outlook: Stable[7]
  • Moody's:[7]
    Outlook: Stable
  • Fitch:[7]
    Outlook: Positive
Foreign reserves
US$7.830 billion (March 2011)[8]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The economy of Uruguay is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector and a well-educated work force, along with high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996–98, in 1999–2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil. In 2001–02, Argentine citizens made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks after bank deposits in Argentina were frozen, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso, a banking crisis, and a sharp economic contraction. Real GDP fell in four years by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year. The unemployment rate rose, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Financial assistance from the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay restructured its external debt in 2003 without asking creditors to accept a reduction on the principal. Economic growth for Uruguay resumed, and averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay's vigorous growth, which decelerated to 2.9% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment, and GDP growth exceeded 7% in 2010.


  • Currency 1
  • Sectors 2
    • Agriculture, Textiles and Leather 2.1
    • Mining 2.2
    • Plastics 2.3
    • Telecommunications 2.4
    • Travel & Tourism 2.5
  • Specialties of Uruguay 3
  • Raw Data 4
  • See also 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7


Uruguay has a partially dollarized economy. As of August 2008 almost 60% of bank loans use United States dollars,[9] but most transactions use the Uruguayan peso.[10]


Agriculture, Textiles and Leather

Throughout Uruguay's history, their strongest exporting industries have been beef and wool. In the case of beef exports, they have been boosted since Uruguay joined the Mercosur agreement in 1991 and the country has been able to reach more distant markets, such as Japan. In the case of wool exports, they have not been doing so well in recent years suffering from other competitors in the market like New Zealand and the fluctuations of its demand during the 2008/09 recession in the developed world. At the same time with timber refining being kept within the country, forestry has become a growth industry in the recent years.


Although this is a sector that does not make substantial contributions to the country's economy, in recent years there have been some activity in gold and cement production, and also in the extraction of granite.


Due to two major investments made in 1991 and 1997, the most significant manufactured exports in Uruguay are plastics. This investments laid the way for most of the substantial exports of plastic-based products which has taken an important role in Uruguay's economy.


In spite of having poor levels of investment in the fixed-line sector, the small size of Uruguay's population has enabled them to attain one of the highest teledensity levels in South America and reach a 100% digitalization of main lines. Although the telecommunications sector have been under a state monopoly for some years, provisions have been made to introduce liberalization and to allow for entry of more firms into the cellular sector.

Travel & Tourism

In 2013, travel and tourism accounted for 9.4% of the countries GDP.[11] Their tourist industry is mainly characterized for attracting visitors from neighboring countries. Currently Uruguay's major attraction is the interior, particularly located in the region around Punta del Este. [12] [5]

Specialties of Uruguay

  • Cattle were introduced to Uruguay before its independence by Hernando Arias de Saavedra, the Spanish Governor of Buenos Aires in 1603. Beef exports in 2006 amounted to around 37% of Uruguayan exports.[13]
  • Wool is a traditional product exported mainly to America, followed by the UK and India.[14]
  • Milk and dairy products. Conaprole, National Cooperative of Milk Producers[15] is the main exporter of dairy products in Latin America (in 2006). The area of the country dedicated to the dairy food is located mainly in the south west.
  • Rice. Fine varieties are produced in the lowlands in the east of the country close to Merin lake on the Uruguay-Brazil border. The national company Saman claims to be the main exporter in Latin America.[16] Countries it exports to include Brazil, Iran, Peru, South Africa, Chile, Senegal, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, USA, Canada and China.
  • Tourism: Several seaside resorts, like Punta del Este or Punta del Diablo in the south-eastern departments of Maldonado and Rocha, regarded as a jet set resort in South America, are main attractions of Uruguay. International cruises call at Montevideo from October to March every year. Also, Uruguay hosts many year-round international conferences. (The original GATT Uruguay Round concerning trade was, as its name suggests, hosted in Uruguay). Montevideo is home to the headquarters (secretariat) of [Mercosur], the Common Market of the South, whose full members are Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, associate members Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
  • Software and consulting. Uruguay's well-educated workforce and lower-than-international wages have put Uruguay on the IT map. A product named GeneXus,[17] originally created in Uruguay by a company called ArTech, is noteworthy. Other important developers and consultants include De Larrobla & Asociados,[18] Greycon and Quanam.[19] Tata Consultancy Services has its headquarters for the Spanish speaking world in Uruguay. Many of these companies have established in Zonamerica Business & Technology Park
"With a population of only three million, Uruguay has rapidly become Latin America's outsourcing hub. In partnership with one of India's largest technology consulting firms, engineers in Montevideo work while their counterparts in Mumbai sleep." - The New York Times, Sep 22, 2006
  • Banking Services. Banking has traditionally been one of the strongest service export sectors in the country. Uruguay was once dubbed "the Switzerland of America", mainly for its banking sector and stability. The largest bank in Uruguay is Banco República, or BROU, which is state-owned; another important state bank is the BHU. Almost 20 private banks, most of them branches of international banks, operate in the country (Banco Santander, ABN AMRO, Citibank, among others). There are also a myriad of brokers and financial-services bureaus, among them Ficus Capital, Galfin Sociedad de Bolsa, Europa Sociedad de Bolsa, Darío Cukier, GBU, Hordeñana & Asociados Sociedad de Bolsa, etc. Uruguay has fully recovered from the financial crisis that caused a run on its banks.
  • Public Sector: The state in Uruguay has an important role in the economy, Uruguay resisted the trend of privatization in Utilities and state owned enterprises in the region. Several Referendums supported the state being in control of the most important utilities and energy companies. Some of the companies have a full monopoly warranted by law (like landline telephony, water), others compete freely with private operators (Insurance, mobile telephony, Banks). Most of them are dominant in the local market. There is strong debate in the Uruguayan society about their role, and future. Some of them made a contribution to the Uruguay state treasury.
    • The most important state owned companies are:Republica AFAP (Pension Fund), AFE (Railways), ANCAP (Energy), ANCO (Mail), Administracion Nacional de Puertos (Ports), ANTEL (Telecommunications: Telephony, Mobiles (ANCEL and Data ANTELDATA)), BHU (Mortgage Bank), BROU (Bank), BSE (Insurance), OSE (Water & Sewage), UTE (Electricity). These companies operate under public law, using a legal entity defined in the Uruguayan Constitution called 'Ente Autonomo' (Meaning Autonomic Entity). The government also owns parts of other companies operating under private law like the National Airline Carrier PLUNA and others owned totally or partially by the CND National Development Corporation.

Raw Data


Foreign relations

  • Industrial production growth rate: 12.6% (2006 est.)
  • Electricity - production: 9,474 GWh (1998)
    • fossil fuel: 3.91%
    • hydro: 95.62%
    • nuclear: 0%
    • other: 0.47% (1998)
  • Electricity - consumption: 6,526 GWh (1998)
  • Electricity - exports: 2,363 GWh (1998)
  • Electricity - imports: 78 GWh (1998)
  • Agriculture - products: livestock; fish
  • Exchange rates: Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 24.048 (2006), 24.479 (2005), 28.704 (2004), 28.209 (2003), 21.257 (2002)

See also

External links

  • World Bank Summary Trade Statistics Uruguay


  1. ^
  2. ^ [6]
  3. ^ "Doing Business in Uruguay 2012".  
  4. ^ "Export Partners of Uruguay".  
  5. ^ "Import Partners of Uruguay".  
  6. ^ "Sovereigns rating list". Standard & Poor's. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Rogers, Simon; Sedghi, Ami (15 April 2011). "How Fitch, Moody's and S&P rate each country's credit rating". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 28 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity - URUGUAY". International Monetary Fund. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Piñón, Marco; Gelos, Gaston (2008-08-28). "Uruguay's Monetary Policy Effective Despite Dollarization". IMF Survey Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 
  10. ^ Piñón, Marco; Gelos, Gaston; López-Mejía, Alejandro (editors) (2008). Macroeconomic Implications of Financial Dollarization: The Case of Uruguay. International Monetary Fund. p. 2.  
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Country Reports: Uruguay." Uruguay Country Monitor (2014): 16. Business Source Premier. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Secretariado Uruguayo de la Lana
  15. ^ Conaprole
  16. ^ SAMAN. Principal exportador de arroz de América Latina. The leading rice exporter in Latin America
  17. ^
  18. ^ Core Bancario - Core Banking Solution - Bantotal
  19. ^ Welcome to Quanam: A knowledge company::: ORACLE CERTIFIED ADVANTAGE PARTNER
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.