* Chile Dec manufacturing down 2.5 pct yr/yr
* High base of comparison, fewer working days hit output
* Export-dependent Chile so far defying global slowdown
SANTIAGO, Jan 30 Chilean manufacturing
production fell a seasonally adjusted 2.5 percent in
December from November and also posted a surprise 2.5 percent
fall from a year earlier, the government statistics agency INE
said on Wednesday.
A Reuters poll saw the index, which is broadly comparable
to the prior industrial output index, growing 0.9 percent from a
year earlier boosted by food and beverages production.
For all of 2012, manufacturing output in the
export-dependent country expanded 2.4 percent versus the prior
year, boosted by food and beverages, an increase in salmon and
trout production, metal manufacturing and paper production, the
Chile, the world's top producer of copper, is also a
significant exporter of wine, fish, fruits and wood pulp.
The country's small, export-dependent economy has mostly
fared better than expected despite slowing demand from top trade
partner China and fallout from the euro zone crisis.
A tight labor market, along with firm domestic demand and
strong economic growth, has prompted Chile's central bank to
keep its key interest rate on hold since a surprise
cut in January 2012.