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Chile's economy grows 1.3% in Q1, slightly above forecast

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Staff writer ▼ | May 20, 2016
Valparaiso
LatAm   Mining sector in Chile contracted 1.9%

Chile's gross domestic product grew by 1.3% in the first quarter from the last quarter of 2015, the central bank said, boosted by rising exports.

On an annual basis, first-quarter growth in the top copper exporter was 2%, compared with a predicted 1.8%. "There was a general rise in activity, except for fishing, mining and restaurants and hotels," the bank said.

The quarter-on-quarter figure was just ahead of a forecast of 1.2% from a Reuters poll of economists, and significantly higher than last quarter's 0.1% reading.

Growth had been spurred by a net rise in exports, and, to a lesser extent, household spending, it said.

The country's key mining sector contracted 1.9% in the quarter compared with a year ago, but increased from the last quarter, it said.

Cooling demand in key buyer China has led to a rout in the copper market and crimped investment in Chile at a time when ore grades were already falling, although the ramp-up of new mines is keeping output steady.

Chile imported 2.884 million mt of coal in the first three months of the year, up 71.2% from the same period of 2015, Energy Ministry data showed.

Imports in March jumped 31.4% from a year ago to 1.233 million mt. February imports were 666,847 mt and Januaray imports totaled 984,000 mt, Platts reports.

In March, Chile imported 491,000 mt from Colombia, 403,000 mt from Australia and 340,000 mt from the US, data showed.

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