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