Chile: Peso plummets to an over two-year low in September
The Chilean peso has lost considerable ground against the U.S. dollar in recent weeks following what had already been a challenging summer for the currency of Latin America’s second-largest exporter. On 4 September, the peso traded at CLP 686.9 per USD, the weakest result in over two years. The print represented a weakening of 6.2% over the same day in August and of 10.8% in annual terms. Meanwhile, since the beginning of the year the peso has lost 11.1% of its value.
The recent tumbling of the peso has come in a wider context of a marked depreciation of emerging currencies against the backdrop of escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China, a stronger U.S. dollar and a slump in prices for copper, Chile’s largest export commodity. The ongoing economic and political turmoil in Argentina and Turkey also likely had a significant impact on the peso’s performance in recent weeks as a selloff of emerging-market currencies accelerated amid increasing fears of contagion.
The Central Bank of Chile remains confident about the fundamental strength of the economy and stated in its communiqué on 5 September that the depreciation of the nominal exchange rate has played a stabilizing role in its policy framework, while real depreciation of the peso has been only marginal. Nevertheless, the Bank’s guidance suggests that external conditions relating to global trade and the rates of the U.S. Federal Reserve continue to be the key risks to the underlying stability of the peso this year and next.