From 2021 to 2022, the overall value of Uruguay’s exports increased by 17.3% compared to $9.54 billion one year earlier.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022 on a Purchasing Power Parity basis, the Uruguayan peso decreased by -34% against the US dollar since 2018 but increased by 5.5% from 2021 to 2022. Uruguay’s weaker local currency versus 2018 makes Uruguayan exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Applying a continental lens, 36.7% of Uruguay exports by value was delivered to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean countries while 34.6% was sold to Asian importers. Uruguay shipped another 12.2% worth of goods to buyers in Europe with 10.6% going to buyers in North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (5.6%) and Oceania (0.3%) led by French Polynesia and Polynesia.
Uruguay’s Top 25 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Uruguay’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, these countries imported the greatest Uruguayan shipments by dollar value during 2022. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Uruguayan exports.
- mainland China: US$2.4 billion (21.5% of total Uruguayan exports)
- Brazil: $1.7 billion (15%)
- Argentina: $904.3 million (8.1%)
- United States: $695.7 million (6.2%)
- Netherlands: $294 million (2.6%)
- Algeria: $228.6 million (2%)
- Mexico: $203.7 million (1.8%)
- Chile: $169.5 million (1.5%)
- Paraguay: $144.5 million (1.3%)
- Egypt: $138.5 million (1.2%)
- Portugal: $122.4 million (1.1%)
- United Kingdom: $99.4 million (0.9%)
- Italy: $96.1 million (0.9%)
- Israel: $89.9 million (0.8%)
- Spain: $88.2 million (0.8%)
- India: $87.2 million (0.8%)
- Germany: $86.3 million (0.8%)
- Thailand: $76.7 million (0.7%)
- Russia: $73.6 million (0.7%)
- Türkiye: $70.2 million (0.6%)
- Venezuela: $65.2 million (0.6%)
- Peru: $63.6 million (0.6%)
- Japan: $61.6 million (0.6%)
- Canada: $59.4 million (0.5%)
- Bolivia: $59.3 million (0.5%)
Less than three-quarters (72%) of Uruguayan exports in 2022 was delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Among the top importers, Portugal increased its import purchases from Uruguay at the fastest pace, up 98% from 2021 to 2022. The second-leading growth customer was mainland Venezuela via its 93.6% advance trailed by Argentina (up 93%), Mexico (up 41.8%), United Kingdom (up 36.8%), Chile (up 33.5%) then the United States of America (up 28.2%).
Leading the decliners were buyers of Uruguayan exports in Türkiye (down -50.2% from 2021), Peru (down -39.6%) and Russia (down -35.7%).
Countries Causing Uruguay’s Largest Trade Deficits
Overall Uruguay incurred a -US$1.78 billion trade deficit during 2022, swelling by 128.8% from the -$779.4 million in red ink one year earlier for 2021.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Uruguay incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- United States of America: -US$1.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- Brazil: -$906.4 million
- Argentina: -$583.3 million
- Nigeria: -$359 million
- Germany: -$211.7 million
- India: -$191.3 million
- France: -$176.6 million
- Spain: -$173.7 million
- Türkiye: -$136.9 million
- Italy: -$100.4 million
Among Uruguay’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Uruguayan deficits with the United States of America (up 249.8%), Brazil (up 185.5%) and India (up 51%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
In addition, Uruguay transitioned from garnering a $27.8 million surplus in 2021 to incurring the trade deficit listed above.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Uruguay’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Uruguay to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating Uruguay’s Best Trade Surpluses
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Uruguay incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Netherlands: US$203.6 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2022)
- Algeria: $184.6 million
- Egypt: $112 million
- Portugal: $104.1 million
- Venezuela: $63.5 million
- Israel: $62 million
- Cuba: $56.5 million
- mainland China: $53 million
- Thailand: $44.6 million
- Costa Rica: $37.4 million
Among Uruguay’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Uruguayan surpluses with Costa Rica (up 327.1%), Portugal (up 130.7%) and Cuba (up 99%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Uruguay’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Uruguay to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Uruguayan Trading Partners
Not one Uruguayan corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Uruguay. Selected examples are shown below.
- Aeromás (airliner)
- Alas Uruguay (airlines start-up)
- Effa Motor (vehicles)
- Texlond Corporation (aircraft manufacturer)
- Union Agriculture Group (rice, soya beans, wheat, sheep, cattle)
See also Uruguay’s Top 10 Imports, Uruguay’s Top 10 Exports, Brazil’s Top 25 Trading Partners, Argentina’s Top Trading Partners and Mexico’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 3, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on July 3, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 3, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Wikipedia, Categories: Companies of Uruguay. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 3, 2023
Wikipedia, Uruguay. Accessed on July 3, 2023
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Montevideo, Uruguay. Accessed on July 3, 2023