UPDATE 1-Chile trade surplus widens in December, copper boosts

Mon Jan 7, 2013 7:25am EST

Related Topics

* Chile notches $1.506 bln trade surplus in December

* Top export copper boosts balance

* Chile trade balance totals $4.208 bln in 2012

SANTIAGO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Chile marked its largest monthly trade surplus in December since April 2011, boosted by sales of top export copper, the central bank said on Monday.

December's $1.506 billion trade surplus helped boost Chile's annual surplus to $4.208 billion. But the 2012 figure is sharply down from 2011's $10.792 billion surplus.

World No.1 copper producer Chile's exports of the red metal reached $4.704 billion in December, their highest level in two years.

Chile's small, export-dependent economy has generally fared better than expected despite slowing demand from top trade partner China and fallout from the euro zone crisis.

December's trade surplus figure compares with a $1.176 billion surplus in December 2011, according to bank data. The figure is the second monthly surplus in a row following four consecutive deficits.

Exports totaled about $7.714 billion in December, while imports were about $6.208 billion.

Copper export revenue was up from $3.859 billion in November, the central bank added. Exports of the metal totaled $42.723 billion in 2012.

In addition to producing roughly a third of the world's copper, Chile also exports fruits, wine, wood pulp and salmon.

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