July 11, 2018 / 6:30 PM / 11 days ago

Foreign investment in Chile surges due to new law: government

(Reuters) - Foreign direct investment in Chile hit $8.48 billion from January to April, its highest level since records began 15 years ago, thanks to a new law designed to attract investment, the government investment agency said on Wednesday.

InvestChile, an arm of the economics ministry, said foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by 655 percent over the same period last year, and it was 24.3 percent higher than the $6.41 billion that flowed into the Andean nation in all of 2017.

“The investment inflows from abroad are a clear sign of economic recuperation,” said InvestChile in an emailed statement.

Chile’s center-right President Sebastian Pinera, who took office in March, has set a target of increasing investment an average of 6 to 7 percent in the next four years and introduced a new law to cut red tape.

InvestChile said the FDI consisted mostly of reinvestment of revenue in Chile by foreign companies and equities and bonds investment.

The biggest inflow came from China’s Southern Power Grid, which bought a 27.7 percent stake in Chile’s largest electric transmission system, Transelec, for $1.3 billion.

The Transelec deal represented one of the largest such transactions by a Chinese firm in Chile so far and was seen as part of a broader campaign by the superpower to increase economic and political ties with Latin American nations. {nL2N1PH13J}

FDI contracted for four years under the previous center-left government which was blamed on a low copper price and weak investment in the country’s key mining industry.

Reporting by Antonio de la Jara, writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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