SANTIAGO, Nov 4 – Chilean business executives do not foresee a marked improvement in the performance of their companies or the overall economy until at least the end of 2017, a central bank survey showed on Friday.
“Investment remains stagnant at most of the companies (we) visited and there aren’t many incentives to boost investment,” said the bank’s quarterly survey of business sentiment.
Most of those polled said the performance of their businesses remained stable during the third quarter.
The economy in Chile, the world No. 1 copper producer, has struggled in recent years as global metals prices declined sharply. The government expects the economy to grow 1.75 percent in 2016, which would be the slowest expansion since a 2009 recession.
“Another factor is uncertainty about current contracts and the absence of important projects in certain sectors, especially in the mining sector, which is hindering the willingness to invest,” said the survey.
While bank credit is readily available, demand for loans has remained low, it found.
More people were looking for work and job seekers were increasingly willing to take pay cuts, companies said.
President Michelle Bachelet’s ambitious reform agenda, including changes to tax and labor laws, has ruffled feathers among the business elite and increased uncertainty.
Her term is due to end in early 2018 following a presidential election in November 2017. The front-runners to succeed her are considered more business-friendly.
The central bank survey was based on interviews with about 200 executives between Sept. 8 and Oct. 24.