UPDATE 2-Chile Oct trade surplus first since June, copper boosts

Wed Nov 7, 2012 9:12am EST

* Oct. import revenue a record; brisk domestic demand eyed
    * October export revenue highest since May 2011
    * Chile Oct. copper export revenue climbs to $4.440 bln


    SANTIAGO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Chile posted its first trade
surplus in October since June, the central bank said on
Wednesday, on the strongest export figures in more than a year
though record-high imports eased the surplus in the world No. 1
copper producer.
    Exports were buoyed by revenue from Chile's lynchpin copper,
which climbed to the highest level since December 2010, while
robust domestic demand likely continued to propel imports to
fresh highs.
    The Andean country posted a trade surplus of
$70 million in October, reversing a $37 million deficit in
September and an $843 million deficit in August.
     "Considering seasonal factors, we think these figures
continue to show dynamic domestic demand, in contrast with the
weak performance of industrial exports," Banchile said in a
client note.
    The figure compares with an $895 million surplus in October
2011, according to revised central bank data. 
    Exports totaled about $7.315 billion in October, the highest
level since May 2011, while imports were about $7.245 billion,
apparently the steepest figure on record. The central bank
provides trade data dating back to 2003.
    Chile has accumulated a $2.621 billion trade surplus between
January and October, significantly lower than the $9.328 billion
clocked during the same period of last year. Export revenue is
down 4.5 percent in the January to October period while import
revenue is up 6.3 percent.
    Firm domestic demand, a tight labor market and relatively
healthy prices for main export copper have kept Chile's small,
export-dependent economy growing at a brisk pace despite slowing
demand in top trade partner China and fallout from the euro zone
debt crisis. 
    Chile's economy this year may post growth of slightly more
than the official forecast of 5 percent, Finance Minister Felipe
Larrain told Reuters on Monday, but he stuck with a growth
outlook for 2013 of 4.8 percent, noting that Chile faces slowing
exports to Europe. 

    COPPER REVENUE JUMPS        
    Chile's copper export revenue was $4.440
billion in October, up from a previously reported $3.523 billion
in September, the central bank also reported on Wednesday.
    Revenue for the red metal between January and October
reached a revised $34.375 billion, lower than the roughly
$36.583 billion reported in the same period of last year. 
    Metal output from Chile, which produces roughly a third of
the world's red metal, has increased in recent months on the
back of improved ore grades and increased output at operations
that started up in 2011. 
    Copper prices closed around 5 percent lower in
October, their sharpest drop since May, on continued worries
over the health of demand from top consumer China.
 
    In addition to copper, Chile is a major exporter of wine,
fruit, wood pulp and salmon.
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