SANTIAGO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Chile's economic activity grew
at its fastest annual pace this year in October, data showed on
Wednesday, leading Finance Minister Felipe Larrain to predict
the economy will likely grow around 5.5 percent this year.
In October, Larrain's finance ministry forecast Chile would
grow 5 percent in 2012 and then slow to 4.8 growth next year,
following 6.0 percent growth in 2011.
Brisk domestic demand and investments have boosted growth in
Chile this year, despite easing demand from top trade partner
China and fallout from the euro zone's crisis, helping the
small, export-dependent economy largely defy forecasts for a
The IMACEC indicator of economic activity, in
the world's top copper producer rose 6.7 percent in October,
compared with October of last year, speeding its pace of growth
from the upwardly revised 4.9 percent growth in September from
the year-earlier month, central bank data showed on Wednesday.
Manufacturing, retail and three additional working days in
October compared with a year-ago boosted economic activity, the
central bank said.
'The economy grew 6.7 percent. What does that show us? The
tremendous resiliency of the Chilean economy amid an adverse
external scenario,' Larrain told reporters. 'Remember that we
elaborated a contingency plan, that plan today is sitting atop a
desk in the Finance Ministry because fortunately we never had to
' We're going to end the year of 2012 with better results
than had been expected,' he said. '(Economic) growth this year
will probably be around 5.5 percent.'
While investments and robust consumption have helped fuel
growth, Larrain said he doesn't see the small, export-dependent
The October IMACEC data beat market expectations for 6.4
percent growth in a Reuters poll
'We can look at 2013 with optimism because this economy is
going to continue growing even if the problems in the world
persist,' Larrain said.
He added that inflation will end the year 'well below' the
midpoint of the central bank's 3.0 percent policy horizon
Chile is seen posting zero inflation in November, following
two months of surprisingly high readings, as easing fuel and
transport prices likely counteracted strong food prices,
according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll.
The IMACEC fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent in October
from September, compared with a downwardly revised 0.7 percent
increase in September. It was the first seasonally adjusted
month-on-month drop since January, when economic activity
contracted 1.1 percent.
The central bank calculates its month-on-month IMACEC data
in seasonally adjusted terms. A monthly gauge, the IMACEC
measures more than 90 percent of the components comprising
Chile's gross domestic product, which is published quarterly.
(Reporting by Santiago Newsroom and Moises Avila; Writing by
Keywords: CHILE ECONOMY/
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