MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s exports of goods totaled $8.96 billion in 2015, an 11.6 percent decrease from the previous year, said Uruguay XXI, the South American country’s investment and trade promotion agency.
Beef and cellulose surpassed soybeans as the main products exported by Uruguay in 2015, while China and Brazil remained the top buyers of goods.
The Annual Foreign Trade Report said Uruguay, whose exports had not fallen since 2009 amid the global financial crisis, is the South American country that posted the smallest drop in exports.
The report attributed the “expected results” to the fall in international commodity prices, the economic slowdown in China, stagnation in Argentina and the recession in Brazil, all of which contributed to adverse external and regional environments.
The decrease in the value of exports reflects, mostly, the lower prices for the products the country sells overseas since, in general terms, volumes increased, Uruguay XXI said.
The volume of beef exports, which top the list of Uruguayan foreign sales, increased 5.2 percent in 2015 over 2014 to a record 223,000 tons of frozen meat and 39,000 tons of refrigerated meat, but the value decreased 2.3 percent.
Exports of cellulose were valued at almost $1.27 billion, making it the product with the biggest positive contribution.
The government agency estimated that in 2016 the drop in value of Uruguayan exports will be “significantly less” than the 1.6 percent decrease registered in 2015, and it expects the numbers will turn positive in 2017, when the value of exports could increase 3.1 percent.