* Manufacturing output data trails market expectations
* Jobless rate dips to lowest in at least 3 years
* November's copper output picks up on better ore grades
By Antonio De la Jara and Moises Avila
SANTIAGO, Dec 28 Chilean manufacturing output
grew a weaker-than-expected 0.8 percent in November from a year
earlier, dampened by sluggish external demand and fewer working
days, the state statistics agency said on Friday.
The relatively new index, broadly comparable to the prior
industrial output index, fell a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent
in November from October, after surging the previous month on
the back of extra working days.
Analysts and economists in a Reuters poll forecast
manufacturing production growth of 2.6 percent year
The index surged 9.1 percent in October from a year earlier,
the biggest annual gain in 2012, and jumped a seasonally
adjusted 19.7 percent in October from September.
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.
Despite the impact of softer external demand in Friday's
factory data, food and wood paper production remained buoyant.
The South American country's jobless rate for the
September-November period fell to 6.2 percent, its lowest level
in at least three years, due to robust economic growth, strong
domestic demand and an expansion of seasonal farm jobs, the
The jobless rate has been calculated using a new methodology
since early 2010. Using the prior system, the
September-to-November unemployment rate is the lowest in six
Agricultural jobs traditionally increase in the southern
hemisphere's spring and summer months.
The unemployment rate was expected to remain
steady at 6.6 percent, according to the median forecast of nine
analysts and economists polled by Reuters.
Chile's jobless rate for the September-to-November period
last year was 7.1 percent.
With regard to copper production in the world's top producer
of the red metal, output rose 2.6 percent in November, year on
year, to 478,545 tonnes of copper.
The improved output was due to better mineral ore grades at
some mines and a production ramp-up at mines that started
operations last year, the INE statistics agency reported.
Copper production expanded 3.7 percent to 4.94 million
tonnes between January and November, compared with the
year-earlier period. Compared with October, output grew 0.5
Chile is struggling with dwindling ore grades in many of its
aging deposits, although new mines have helped increase output
A recovery in the world No. 1 copper mine, Escondida,
majority owned by BHP Billiton Ltd , as well as
higher output from Anglo American Plc's disputed Los
Bronces mine are boosting Chile's production.
Output of molybdenum, a metal used to harden steel, rose 3.6
percent to 2,790 tonnes in November, the INE said.
January-to-November production of molybdenum dropped 14.7
percent versus the same period a year ago to 28,571 tonnes.