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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chile GDP Q1 2008

Chile's gross domestic product expanded at the slowest pace since 2003 in the first quarter with mining output falling substantially and a drought cutting hydroelectricity supplies. Chile's economy expanded 3 percent in the first quarter from the year-earlier period, down from the 4 percent rise achieved in the previous quarter.

In fact the economy grew 5.8 percent in the first quarter on a working day adjusted basis - ie taking into account public holidays etc (since easter was in March this year) - so the headline number isn't quite as bad as it looks.

Indeed, quarter on quarter, GDP was up by 1.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The worst drought in 50 years in Chile lowered hydropower reserves as shortages of natural gas curtailed output by generators, resulting in a slowdown in economic activity and industrial production. Industrial output as measured by the National Statistics Office was down 0.1% year on year in March.

Mining output declined 2.7 percent because of labor disputes and lower yields from mines. Copper output fell 8.4 percent in March from a year earlier. According to the central bank output from the utility industry dropped 16 percent. Electricity generation fell 2.2 percent in March because of the drought and gas shortages.

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