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Uruguayan peso

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Title: Uruguayan peso  
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Subject: Economy of Uruguay, Uruguay, Peso, Central Bank of Uruguay, Mercosur
Collection: 1993 Introductions, Currencies of South America, Economy of Uruguay
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Uruguayan peso

Uruguayan peso
peso uruguayo (Spanish)
Current coin.
ISO 4217 code UYU
Central bank Central Bank of Uruguay
User(s)  Uruguay
Inflation 0.3%
 Source Uruguay, December 2009.
 1/100 centésimo
Symbol $ or $U[1]
Coins $1, $2, $5, $10, [2]
Banknotes $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, $1000, $2000
This article is about the present currency of Uruguay. For Uruguay's earlier monetary history, see Currency of Uruguay.

Uruguayan peso has been a name of the Uruguayan currency since Uruguay's settlement by Europeans. The present currency, the peso uruguayo (ISO 4217 code: UYU) was adopted in 1993 and is subdivided into 100 centésimos.


  • Introduction 1
  • Inflation 2
  • Coins 3
  • Banknotes 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Uruguay obtained monetary stability in 1896, based on the gold standard. This favorable state of affairs ended after World War I. An unsettled period followed. Economic difficulties after World War II produced inflation, which became serious after 1964 and continued into the 1970s.

The peso was replaced in November 1973 by the nuevo peso (new peso; ISO 4217 code: UYN) at a rate of 1 new peso for 1000 old pesos. The nuevo peso was also subdivided into 100 centésimos.

After further inflation, the peso uruguayo (ISO 4217 code: UYU) replaced the nuevo peso on March 1, 1993, again at a rate of 1 new for 1000 old.


Uruguayans became accustomed to the constant devaluation of their currency. Uruguayans refer to periods of real appreciation of the currency as atraso cambiario, which literally means that "the exchange rate is running late". As a consequence of the instability of the local currency, prices for most big-ticket items (real estate, cars and even executives' salaries) are denominated in U.S. dollars.

During the military rule, the peso was on a crawling peg to the dollar. A table of the future value of the dollar was published daily by the government (called the tablita). In 1982, the currency was devalued ("the tablita was broken"), throwing thousands of companies and individuals into bankruptcy. In the 1990s, a new mechanism to provide predictability was introduced, this time in the form of a sliding range, with top and bottom margins, at which the government would intervene. In 2002, after a banking crisis and amid a huge budget deficit, the currency was again allowed to float, losing almost 50% of its value in a couple of weeks, and, again, throwing into bankruptcy thousands of companies and individuals who held debts denominated in US dollars.

In 2004 a phenomenon completely new to most Uruguayans developed: the currency appreciated in nominal terms against the US dollar, going from 30 to 24 pesos to the dollar. By 2008 the peso reached 19 to the US dollar, recovering more than half of its loss during the crisis. This revaluation brought protests from the industrial sector, which felt that it lost competitiveness. The government hopes that a floating currency will "de-dollarize" the economy. Uruguay does not seem to have found a mechanism that provides the exchange rate some level of predictability, while at the same time allowing the country to adapt its prices so that its exports remain competitive.


In 1994, stainless-steel 10, 20 and 50 centésimos and brass 1 and 2 pesos uruguayos were introduced. 5 and 10 pesos uruguayos were introduced in 2003 and 2000, respectively. The coins replaced same value notes. Coins in circulation are:

  • 1 peso uruguayo
  • 2 pesos uruguayos
  • 5 pesos uruguayos
  • 10 pesos uruguayos
  • 50 pesos uruguayos

In July 2010, 50 centésimos coins were withdrawn from circulation.

New 1, 2, 5, and 10 pesos coins were introduced in January 2011.[3]


2000 pesos uruguayos banknotes.

In 1995-1996, banknotes in denominations of, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos uruguayos were introduced, followed by 2000 pesos uruguayos in 2003. 5 and 10 notes have been replaced by coins in 2003. Banknotes in circulation are:

The 5 peso and 10 peso banknotes have been withdrawn from circulation, given the introduction of the coins of the same value.

Banknotes of the Uruguayan Peso (Current series)
Image Value Main Color Obverse Reverse Watermark
[8] 20 pesos Uruguayos Dark green and violet Juan Zorilla de San Martín Allegory "Legend of the Fatherland" José Gervasio Artigas
[9] 50 pesos Uruguayos Black, red and violet José Pedro Varela Varela monument in Montevideo José Gervasio Artigas
[10] 100 pesos Uruguayos Purple and dark brown Eduardo Fabini God Pan José Gervasio Artigas
[11] 200 pesos Uruguayos Dark brown-violet Pedro Figari "Baile Antiguo" (Old Dance) José Gervasio Artigas
[12] 500 pesos Uruguayos Blue-gray, violet and pale red Alfredo Vázquez Acevedo University of the Republic in Montevideo José Gervasio Artigas
[13] 1000 pesos Uruguayos Brown and olive-green Juana de Ibarbourou Ibarbourou Square, books José Gervasio Artigas
[14] 2000 pesos Uruguayos Gray and light olive-green Damaso Antonio Larrañaga National Library 28.05.1816 (May 28, 1816) José Gervasio Artigas

See also


  1. ^ " World Currency Symbols." Accessed 23 Feb 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Coins minted in accordance with Law 18.135" (PDF) (in Spanish).  
  • Krause, Chester L., and Clifford Mishler (1991).  
  • Pick, Albert (1994).  

External links

  • Monedas del Uruguay (Coins of Uruguay)
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