The Uruguayan Peso is the official currency of Uruguay. The name has been in use since the European settlement. The present currency was adopted in 1993 and is subdivided into 100 centésimos.
The economy of Uruguay is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending.
In 1603, cattle were introduced in Uruguay before its independence by Hernando Arias de Saveedra, the Spanish Governor of Buenos Aires. In 2006, beef accounted for about 37% of Uruguayan exports.
Wool is a traditional product exported mainly to America, followed by the UK and India.
Conaprole, the National Cooperative of Milk Producers, was the main exporter of dairy products in Latin America in 2006.
Fine varieties of rice are produced in the eastern lowlands, close to Merin lake on the Uruguay-Brazil border.
In 1828, Uruguay's currency was based on the silver Peso of eight reales, commonly known as the Patacon, and the gold onza de oro, valued at 16 pesos silver. A large quantity of debased copper coin also circulated.
In October, 1828, lacking the means to implement a national coinage, Gen. Jose Rondeau’s provisional government permitted foreign silver and gold coin to circulate freely at their intrinsic value, but restricted and later (1829) prohibited the importing of copper coins and the circulation of Buenos Aires banknotes.
A key characteristic of the currency is its instability, which increased in the spring of 2002.
Uruguayans have become accustomed to the constant devaluation and instability of their currency, and have developed a fitting lingo – calling periods of Dollar appreciation atraso cambiario ("the exchange rate is running late").
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