Economy of Uruguay

Economy of Uruguay
Currency Uruguayan peso ($, UYU)
Calendar year
Population 3,416,000 (2015 est.)[1]
GDP Increase$72.577 billion (2015 est.)[1]
GDP growth
Increase2.8% (2015 est.)[1]
GDP per capita
Increase$21,247 (PPP, 2015 est.)[1]
GDP by sector
agriculture: 7.5%; industry: 20.6%; services: 71.9% (2015 est.)
Steady7.9% (CPI, 2015 est.)[1]
Population below poverty line
9.7% (2014)[2]
45.3 (2010)
Labour force
1.7 million (2013 est.)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 13%; industry: 14%; services: 73% (2010 est.)
Unemployment Increase6.772% (2015 est.)[1]
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 1]
Revenues $15.937 billion (2015 est.)[6]
Expenses $17.438 billion (2015 est.)[6]
Foreign reserves
$18.320 billion (April 2015)[9]
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 300% 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.


Uruguay has a partially dollarized economy. As of August 2008 almost 60% of bank loans use United States dollars,[10] but most transactions use the Uruguayan peso.[11]


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. These 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 has 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 country's GDP.[12] 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. [13]

Specialties of Uruguay

"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

Raw Data


Foreign relations


See also


  1. 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.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "IMF data for Uruguay". IMF. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  2. "Cuadro 7. Incidencia de la pobreza en personas por área geográfica según año". Estimación de la pobreza por el Método del Ingreso: Año 2014 (in Spanish). Instituto Nacional de Estadística. March 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. "Doing Business in Uruguay 2012". World Bank. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  4. "Export Partners of Uruguay". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  5. "Import Partners of Uruguay". CIA World Factbook. 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
  6. 1 2 "IMF data for Uruguay (1 Uruguayan Peso equals 0.037 US Dollar (Google: 23/06/15))". IMF. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  7. "Sovereigns rating list". Standard & Poor's. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  8. 1 2 3 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.
  9. "IMF data for Uruguay". IMF. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  10. Piñón, Marco; Gelos, Gaston (2008-08-28). "Uruguay's Monetary Policy Effective Despite Dollarization". IMF Survey Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  11. Piñón, Marco; Gelos, Gaston; López-Mejía, Alejandro (editors) (2008). Macroeconomic Implications of Financial Dollarization: The Case of Uruguay. International Monetary Fund. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-58906-727-1.
  12. "Uruguay - Travel & Tourism Total Contribution to GDP - Total Contribution to GDP - % share". Knoema. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  13. "Country Reports: Uruguay." Uruguay Country Monitor (2014): 16. Business Source Premier. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.
  15. Secretariado Uruguayo de la Lana
  16. "Conaprole". Conaprole. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  17. "SAMAN. Principal exportador de arroz de América Latina. The leading rice exporter in Latin America.". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  18. "Desarrollo de Aplicaciones Empresariales Multiplataforma - GeneXus". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  19. "Bantotal". Bantotal. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  20. "inicio - localhost". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
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