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Uruguay Uruguay

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Uruguay – Quick View
ECR score47.79 (Mar 2011)
ECR rank75 (Mar 2011)
GDP at current prices 2010 (e)USD 40.39 billion
GNI per capita PPP 2010USD 13,808
FDI Inflow 2009USD 1,261.69 million
Inflation 2010 (e)7%
Central Bank Assets 2011 (Mar)USD 7,898 million
Unemployment rate 2010 (e)7%
Government surplus 2010 (e)USD 0.37 billion
Tax revenueNA
Government typeParliamentary Democratic Republic
Recent political crisisNA
Economic freedom score 201133rd
Freedom of information score 201037th
Corruption perception index 201024th
Crude Birth rate 200915%
Population balance 2009Under 14 - 23%
Population balance 2009Over 64 - 14%
Life expectancy years76.7 years
Under-5 Mortality Rate 201014 (per '000)
Internet access52.8%
Literacy rate 201097.9%

[Top] Economic Overview

Uruguay’s economy is characterised by a rising GDP. The government contributes substantially to the country’s economic growth.


Gross domestic product (GDP)

Uruguay GDP at current prices
e= estimated

(Source: prepare report)

GDP growth rate

Uruguay GDP Growth Rate




Gross national income (GNI) per capita

GNI per capita at PPP in 2010 was recorded at USD 13,808.

Uruguay GNI per capita, PPP

(Source: UNDP)

Tax rates

Uruguay has a progressive income tax rate up to 25%.

Income tax rate

Taxable Income (BPC)

Tax Rate

Up to 84










Over 1200



*BPC stands for Base De Prestacionesy Contribucines. It is a reference wage unit used in Uruguay. In 2010, it equalled USD $2,061.

(Source:Tax Rates)

The corporate tax rate in the country is 25%. Other taxes imposed on corporations are Fringe Benefits Tax and Branch Profits Tax.

The rate of VAT (Value-Added Tax) is 22%. Medicines and specific essential goods are taxed at a minimum rate of 10%.  However, non-industrial goods, cattle, land and buildings are exempted from VAT.

(Source:Tax Rates)

Uruguay Inflation Rate


Inflation rate in Uruguay experienced growth from 4.9% in 2005 to 9.19% 2008. However, the rate is estimated to reach 5.5% by 2012. 

FDI inflow

Uruguay Foreign Direct Investment


Foreign investments in Uruguay fluctuated moderately from 2005 to 2009.

Central bank assets

Uruguay Central Bank Assets

 (Source:Central Bank)

Banco Central del Uruguay is the country’s central bank. Its reserve assets witnessed a steady increase from 2005 to 2009. In 2011 the total assets are recorded at USD 7,898 million.

[Top] Financial Indicators & Government Financial

Consumer price index (CPI)

Uruguay Consumer Price Index

e= estimated


From 2005 to 2009, Uruguay’s CPI increased from 211.6 to 282.43. Furthermore, by 2012, the figure is estimated to reach 337.95.

Nominal deposit rate

In 2007, Uruguay's nominal deposit rate was registered at 2.3%, and increased steadily to 4.1% in 2009.

Money supply

Uruguay Money Supply

(Source: Central Bank)

The total currency in circulation supplied by Uruguay’s central bank has increased from July 2009 to September 2010.

Exchange rate

The official currency is the Uruguayan Peso (UYU). In 1993, a currency called new Uruguayan Peso (UYN) was declared at a value of 1 UYN= 1000 UYU, which is also quoted in some cases. Till 2002, the currency was pegged against the US dollar.


Uruguay Real Effective Exchange Rate


* A negative exchange rate shows appreciation of the currency in the real terms.

The Uruguayan Peso appreciated in 2007 and 2008. During 2008-09 the currency’s value declined as a result of the global economic crisis.

Government finances

Fiscal balance (UYU billion)








2010 e

2011 e

2012 e

Total Revenue









Total Expenditure









Fiscal Balance









 e= estimated


Uruguayan government's fiscal balance recorded fluctuating level of deficit for 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. The deficit is estimated to increase to UYU 7.57 billion by 2012.

Public debt

Uruguay General Government Gross Debt


e= estimated

A steady rise was observed in Uruguay’s public debt level from 2005 to 2009. In 2009, the government’s gross debt was UYU 431.319 billion.

Current account balance

Uruguay Current Account Balance


Uruguay’s current account balance registered a surplus of UYU 42 million in 2005. However, from 2006 to 2008, the country experienced trade deficits varying from UYU 392 million to UYU 1,486 million. But, in 2009, the balance recorded a surplus of UYU 251 million.

Balance of payments
Uruguay External Balance on Goods & Services



Uruguay’s overall external balance on goods and services decreased from 2005 to 2008. Furthermore, in 2008, the balance registered a deficit of UYU 28,486 million. However, trade improved thereafter, resulting in a surplus of UYU 6,760 million by 2009.

[Top] Labour Force and Employment Overview

In 2008, Uruguay’s labour participation rate among men was 84.6% and among women it was 64.4%.

(Source: undp)

Uruguay Unemployment Rate


e= estimated


Unemployment rate in Uruguay has seen to decrease steadily from 2005 to 2009. It is expected to further decrease in2010, to an estimated rate of 7%.

Level of unionisation

Uruguay’s constitution permits trade union formation. The Law on Freedom of Association protects trade unions, its leaders and negotiators. The law, furthermore, ensures labourers’ right to collective bargaining.

Any discriminatory activity is investigated by the Collective Bargaining Department. Collective Bargaining authorities standardise working conditions and the minimum wages of workers. The central government, The Ministry of Labour, Wage Councils, along with the Collective Bargaining Department co-ordinate to establish basic labour regulations and reforms.

The public sector has higher trade union membership than the private sector. Furthermore, there are separate laws governing public and private sector union issues.

(Sources:,, Argentina Independent,

[Top] Political Stability

Uruguay is a parliamentary democratic republic, under which the president is both the head of government and the head of state. Jospeh Mujica is the current president.

The country has a bicameral Congress and a stable multi-party system. Legislative elections are held with presidential elections.

Uruguay’s main political parties are:

·         The Independent Party

·         The Colorado Party

·         The Blanco Party

The ruling government of 2010 is a coalition of the following parties: Movement of Popular Participation (MPP), the Socialist Party, the New Space Party, the Uruguayan Assembly and other factions. 

(Sources: UNHCR, Uruguayan Government)

Regulatory environment

Uruguay Economic Freedom Indices


Uruguay is the world’s 33rd freest economy on the 2011 Economic Freedom Index with a score of 70.  The country stands 3rd among the 29 countries in South and Central America/Caribbean region.




The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey that measures the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Uruguay is ranked 24th among 178 countries in the 2010 Corruption Perception Index.


Freedom of information

In 2010, Uruguay is ranked 37th on Press Freedom Index, with a score of 11.75. The index contains countries with scores ranging from zero, implying most freedom, to about 105.


Judicial system

Uruguay has an independent judiciary.

The Supreme Court is the highest authority in the judiciary. Its judges are elected for a term of ten years by the General Assembly.  It is followed by Appellate Courts and Lower Courts. The promotion of magistrates is carried out by the Consultant Commission. The Commission consists of a Supreme Court Minister, an Appellation Courts Minister, a Lawyers College representative and a representative from the Faculty of Law of the University of the Republic.

There is a separate judicial system for the armed forces, accounts and electoral issues. There is also a separate judicial authority called the Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo (TCA), who are responsible for resolving issues at the government administrative level. This tribunal is an autonomous body funded through the national budget.

(Sources:Uruguayan Government,

[Top] Demographic Overview

In 2010, Uruguay’s population was 3.4 million and the median age was 33.7 years.

Uruguay Population

(Source:, bbc)

In 2009, the population in the country of below 14 year olds accounted for 23% of the total population, whereas people aged 65 years and above constituted 14%.

(Source: worldbank)

   Crude birth rate

In 2009, Uruguay’s crude birth rate was recorded at 15%.


Gender ratio at birth

The gender ratio is recorded at 104.7 male births (per 100 female births).

(Source: undp)

Life expectancy

Life expectancy is recorded at 76.7 years.

(Source: undp)

Under-five mortality rate

In 2010, under-5 mortality rate was recorded at 14 (per 1000 births).

(Source: undp)

Dependency ratio

In 2010, 57.2% of population was registered as dependent.

(Source: undp, pg 181)


In 2010, 92.5% was classified as urban.

 (Source: undp)

Human development index (HDI)

      The country is ranked 52nd on United Nation’s 2010 Human Development Index, falling into the category of ‘High Human Development.’ HDI integrates a country’s life expectancy, schooling and income. This signifies the overall social and economic development of a nation. A rank between 43 and 85 indicates ‘high human development’ on UNDP’s Index.

(Source: undp)

[Top] Soft Infrastructure


Education in Uruguay is free and compulsory from 6 to 14 years of age. Education system is based on legal and constitutional regulations. The Education Act of 1985 led to the formation of the National Administration of Public Education (ANEP).

Ministry of Education and Culture is in charge of national educational and cultural policies. The ministry also establishes guidelines with respect to scientific and technical research, sports and extra-curricular activities, development of private and civic education as well as the conservation of the cultural and artistic history of the country.

Uruguay’s public and private education systems are separately financed. Public education system is funded through the share allotted for education in the state budget. Budget Law determines share of education in national budget. Private system gets exemptions from municipal and national taxes.

In 2010, the country’s adult literacy rate was registered at 97.9%.

(Source: UNESCO)


Uruguayan Constitution states that free prevention and health care services must be provided to the impoverished population. The governing authority of healthcare sector is the Ministry of Public Health (MPH). It is involved in developing prevention programmes and setting medical standards. In 2008, 9.9% of the nation’s GDP accounted to healthcare expenses.

In 2005, the government introduced reforms in healthcare sector to attain universal healthcare coverage and eliminate inequalities. Its policies included integration of the health system, forming a national health fund and assigning health service administration to an autonomous body. 

Uruguay has alliance with WHO (World Health Organisation) and the UN (United Nations) to improve the health status of the nation. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) was established for development of the nation. Uruguay has also created a Country Co-operation Strategy (2006-2011) in association with international organisations such as the UN and WHO.

Some of the significant aspects of the framework are:

·         Making continuous efforts towards achieving prevention of common diseases (communicable and non-communicable).

  • Promoting a healthy lifestyle among the population

·         The National Health Authority (NHA) emphasised encouraging equal access to education and consolidating the NHA’s authority 

·         Decentralising the State Health Services Administration (ASSE), establishing national health accounts, developing a pharmaceuticals policy and certified training programmes for health professionals  

·         Attaining co-operation between sub-regional and regional levels of the hierarchy of the healthcare system

·         Transferring physical healthcare records and documents onto a digital database for ease of access and maintenance of information

(Source:,, International Living)

[Top] Hard Infrastructure

Road network

Road Type

Road Length (km)









(Source: National Transportation)


Railway lines run between the capital and neighbouring suburban regions via The Uruguayan Railways.

Railway Line

Length (km)

Metropolian Area


Rivera Line


Minas Line


Rio Branco Line


Coast Lines





(Source: National Railways)


Uruguay has 22 airports. Salto, Montevideo, Rivera, Maldonado and Durazno are its main airports.

(Source: Aircraft Charter World)


International Freight Movement on Uruguayan Ports (2007):


Country of Origin

Freight Traffic (tonnes)











National Transportation)

Seaway accounts for the major trade route to trade partners like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay. Furthermore, in 2007, Argentina and Brazil led in terms of countries generating maximum trade via seaways.


Antel is a state-owned fixed line operator in Uruguay, and is the only local operator in the country. Its subsidiary, Ancel, is a cell phone service provider, with a market share of approximately 40%. The other providers are America Movil’s Claro and Telefonica’s Movistar. These companies also offer 3G and mobile broadband services. Uruguay’s mobile penetration is over 100%, making it one of the highest in Latin America.

The number of broadband subscribers has been increasing in the country since mid-2000. In 2010, 1.85 million people, accounting to almost 52.8% of entire population, used internet services. From 2000 to 2010, internet users have increased by 401.4%.

(Sources: Ministry of Transport, Internet World Stats, Point-Topic, Totel)

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