Chile Economic Outlook
Monthly economic activity data suggests that GDP returned to growth in quarter-on-quarter terms in Q4. Rebounds in mining and services were the key drivers; in contrast, manufacturing fell at a steeper pace. However, the economy still shrank in annual terms due to a tough base of comparison. Turning to Q1, activity appears solid. The economy confounded market expectations by expanding year on year in January thanks to a stronger mining sector. In addition, business confidence rose in both January and February, while higher copper prices since the start of the year will be buoying state coffers. In politics, on 8 March, Congress rejected the president’s flagship fiscal reform, which had looked to raise taxes to the tune of 3.6% of GDP. This will limit government expenditure and the state’s ability to respond to citizens’ demands for better public services, risking future social unrest.
Inflation dropped to 11.9% in February from January’s 12.3%, marking the lowest rate since May 2022. That said, inflation was still roughly four times the Central Bank’s 3% target. Inflation should ease further later this year amid high interest rates and reduced external price pressures, but remain above the Central Bank’s 3.0% target.