Boosted by mining and consumption, Chilean economy activity soars 4.6% in March

SANTIAGO – Chile’s economic activity rose 4.6% in March from the same month a year ago, its sharpest rise in five years, with a boost from rising consumption and a strengthening mining sector, the central bank said on Monday.

The Monthly Economic Activity Indicator (IMACEC) of the third month compares with a 4% rise in February.

With the figure of the third month, the economic activity, measured by the IMACEC, accumulates an advance of 4.0% in the first quarter, the government said.

“This is the best performance of the Chilean economy since 2013. This is a positive thing, we take this news with some optimism, but we are also aware that there is a bigger challenge ahead, which is to sustain the good figures,” Finance Minister Felipe Larraín said.

Despite the greater than expected upturn in the economy, Larraín said that the forecast of expansion of GDP remains at 3.5% for this year. The Central Bank, meanwhile, has projected an increase of between 3% and 4%.

Without the calendar effect of the month, which covered two business days less compared to 2017, ”the economy would have expanded (in March) 6.1% year-on-year,” said a report by the Banchile Inversiones brokerage.

Mining activity, in which Chile is the world’s largest copper producer, grew by 31.7% in March, while non-mining IMACEC rose by 2.9 percent. The seasonally adjusted IMACEC grew 0.5% in March.