|Economy of Uruguay
||Uruguayan peso ($, UYU)
||$53.55 billion (PPP, 2012 est.)
||3.5% (Real. 2012 est.)
|GDP per capita
||$15,800 (PPP, 2012 est.)
|GDP by sector
||agriculture: 9.1%; industry: 21.5%; services: 69.3% (2012 est.)
||8.1% (CPI, 2012 est.)
below poverty line
||1.691 million (2012 est.)
|agriculture: 13%; industry: 14%; services: 73% (2010 est.)
||6.1% (2012 est.)
||food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
|Ease of Doing Business Rank
||$9.812 billion (2012 est.)
||beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products, wool
|Main export partners
||Brazil 19.3%, China 14.2%, Argentina 6.8%, Germany 6.0%, Venezuela 4.3%, (2011)
||$10.97 billion (2012 est.)
||refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones
|Main import partners
||Brazil 19.3%, China 14.2%, Germany 6.0%, Venezuela 4.3% (2011)
||$15.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
|Gross external debt
||$15.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
||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.
||$14.28 billion (2012 est.)
||$15.07 billion (2012 est.)
||US$7.830 billion (March 2011)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars
Economy of Uruguay is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and 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.
Uruguay has a partially dollarized economy. As of August 2008 almost 60% of bank loans use United States dollars, but most transactions use the Uruguayan peso.
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.
- Wool is a traditional product exported mainly to America, followed by the UK and India.
- Milk and dairy products. Conaprole, National Cooperative of Milk Producers 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. 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, originally created in Uruguay by a company called ArTech, is noteworthy. Other important developers and consultants include De Larrobla & Asociados, Greycon and Quanam. 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 
- 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: wheat, rice, barley, maize, sorghum; 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