efe-epaMontevideo

The president of Uruguay's central bank said Tuesday that the country's economy has effectively "de-coupled" from those of giant neighbors Brazil and Argentina since 2002.

The region "has not been a significant contributing factor to Uruguayan growth for a while now," Mario Bergara said during the first of this year's breakfast conferences organized by the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation in Uruguay.

He said that Argentina is suffering from a combination of low growth and inflation of around 25 percent.

Meanwhile, Brazil "is exulting because it will likely grow 0.5 percent after falling more than seven (percentage) points in two years," he said, adding that Uruguay's economy has been evolving in a "healthy" manner, as the country has been able to "navigate the regional chill over the last few years."

Bergara said that the key to this growth is linked to diversification, particularly in foreign direct investment sources.

"Uruguay exports to 150 countries," he said, adding that "nowadays, we have probably focused much more on China."

The central bank chief said that inflation in Uruguay is at the "target range ceiling."

"We have price stability and great capability among economic agents in Uruguay to navigate with inflation of this magnitude without altering economic decisions in the slightest," he said.

Bergara also pointed to the "healthy evolution of exports of goods and services" in 2017 compared to 2016.