Uruguay/Economy

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Economy - overview: Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, relatively even income distribution, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually in 1996-98, in 1999 the economy suffered from lower demand in Argentina and Brazil, which together account for about half of Uruguay's exports. Despite the severity of the trade shocks and ensuing recession, Uruguay's financial indicators remained more stable than those of its neighbors, a reflection of its solid reputation among investors and its investment-grade sovereign bond rating - one of only two in Latin America. Challenges for the government of incoming President Jorge BATLLE include expanding Uruguay's trade ties beyond its Mercosur trade partners and bolstering Uruguay's competitiveness by increasing labor market flexibility and reducing the costs of public services. Growth should recover in 2000, to perhaps 3%.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $28 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -2.5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,500 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 28%
services: 62% (1999)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 1.38 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: 12% (1999)

Budget:
revenues: $4.4 billion
expenditures: $4.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $500 million (1998 est.)

Industries: food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages

Industrial production growth rate: -4% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 9.474 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 3.91%
hydro: 95.62%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.47% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 6.526 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 2.363 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 78 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: wheat, rice, barley, corn, sorghum; livestock; fish

Exports: $2.1 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: meat, rice, leather products, vehicles, dairy products, wool, electricity

Exports - partners: Mercosur partners 45%, EU 20%, US 7% (1999 est.)

Imports: $3.4 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: road vehicles, electrical machinery, metal manufactures, heavy industrial machinery, crude petroleum

Imports - partners: MERCOSUR partners 43%, EU 20%, US 11% (1999 est.)

Debt - external: $8 billion (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 Uruguayan peso ($Ur) = 100 centesimos

Exchange rates: Uruguayan pesos ($Ur) per US$1 - 11.3393 (1999), 10.4719 (1998), 9.4418 (1997), 7.9718 (1996), 6.3490 (1995), 5.0439 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year