* Chile’s robust economic growth has boosted peso
* Currency has gained around 8 pct vs US dollar in 2012
* Strong domestic demand fueled 5.7 pct Q3 GDP growth
SANTIAGO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Foreign bets against the Chilean peso are at their lowest level in almost six months, as more investors anticipate the country’s strong domestic growth will buoy its currency, central bank data showed on Wednesday.
Chilean non-deliverable forwards, or foreign exchange contracts settled in dollars, point to a stronger peso, with the net position against the local currency declining some $4.0 billion since mid-June, according to central bank data to Nov. 26.
Bets against the peso have fallen to $6.779 billion from $8.651 billion at the beginning of the month, and $10.628 billion in mid-June, which was the highest according to the central bank data that dates back to 2008.
The Chilean currency has gained about 8 percent against the U.S. dollar this year. It ranks behind the Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty as one of the strongest foreign currency performer against the U.S. dollar among 152 currencies tracked by Reuters.
“These appreciative bets for the peso clearly come because of the economy’s strength, and the bets have increased after the central bank published gross domestic product growth data for the third quarter, which attracted foreign investors,” said Ruben Catalan, an economist with Bci Estudios brokerage in Santiago.
Investor-darling Chile’s small, export-dependent economy expanded 5.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier , fueled by sizzling domestic demand.
The Andean country grew a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent in the third quarter versus the second quarter, slowing from an upwardly revised 2.0 percent expansion in the second quarter from the first quarter.
Chile’s central bank has kept rates on par at 5 percent since a surprising cut in January, as it weighs robust local growth against external risks.