Chile: Business confidence declines in March but remains optimistic
The business confidence index (IMCE, Indicador Mensual de Confianza Empresarial) published by ICARE and the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez subsided from a multi-year high of 57.4 points in February to 54.3 points in March. However, the index remained above the crucial 50-threshold separating optimistic from pessimistic sentiment for the third consecutive month.
A substantial deterioration in sentiment in the mining sector dragged on the overall figure. This deterioration was likely motivated at least partly by growing fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China, two key global consumers of copper—Chile’s main mining export. The industry sector also grew slightly less optimistic. On the other hand, sentiment in the trade and construction sectors improved, with the latter moving into positive territory for the first time in several years, in line with much-improved construction activity (IMACON) readings in recent months. As a result, all sectors were in positive territory in March.