SANTIAGO Oct 7 Chile's economic activity grew a
robust 4.1 percent in August compared with a year earlier,
buoyed by dynamic retail and mining sectors in the world's No 1.
copper producer, the central bank said on Monday.
The growth in economic activity was slightly
higher than the 4 percent forecast in a Reuters poll but slower
than the 5.3 percent rate in July versus the year-earlier month.
However, at a monthly rate the IMACEC economic activity
index jumped a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in August against
July, racing ahead from a 0.1 percent increase in July against
"The sectors that again boosted growth, just like last
month, were mining and retail, underscoring that consumption
remains highly dynamic in line with the expansion that the labor
market has shown," Credicorp Capital said in a note to clients.
Chile's many shopping malls buzz with shoppers buying
locally made and imported goods, credit is relatively easy to
come by, and unemployment is at its lowest level since the
current methodology for measuring it began in 2010.
Data from Chile's National Statistics Institute (INE) last
week showed retail sales jumped 12.0 percent on the year in
August, the strongest growth for that month in two years.
Production of copper, the mainstay of the country's exports
and the backbone of the mining sector, jumped 7.6 percent in
August from a year earlier, according to INE. It also rose 2.6
percent in August versus July. Chile accounts for about
one-third of the world's production of the metal.
Last year, Chile posted 5.6 percent economic growth. The
central bank estimates growth in 2013 will be between 4 and 4.5
percent, as investment and exports have cooled, dragged down as
the global economy has wobbled.
But Chile's central bank has maintained a wait-and-see
stance regarding monetary policy, in large part because consumer
spending has remained strong, though it is showing signs of
The latest data "increases marginally the likelihood that
(the central bank's) directors may defer rate cuts further,
waiting for clearer signs of moderation in demand and activity,"
said Tiago Severo at Goldman Sachs.
All five members of the bank's governing board voted on
Sept. 12 to keep the benchmark interest rate steady
at 5 percent, where it has been held since a cut in January
2012, minutes of that meeting showed.
Traders polled by the central bank last month looked for the
interest rate to remain steady at October's meeting, followed by
a 25 basis point cut within three months.(Reporting by Santiago newsroom; Writing by Anthony Esposito;
Editing by W Simon)