Chile's economy grew at a modest pace in March, as a gradual rebound was weighed down by devastating floods and mudslides in its northern region, central bank data showed on Tuesday. The IMACEC economic activity index, which encompasses about 90% of the economy tallied in GDP figures, rose 1.6% in March from the same month a year ago.
”This confirms a gradual recovery. “We expect to have better figures and more economic dynamism in the third quarter which leads us to maintain the 2015 growth estimate of around 3%”, said Finance Minister Alberto Arenas. The Chilean central bank estimate for 2015 is between 2.5% and 3.5%.
The March figure, reported Tuesday by the Central Bank, was higher than market forecasts of a 1% expansion. Nevertheless the March rate of growth showed a slowdown after a 2% increase in February and 2.7% in January for a cumulative Imacec rise of 2.2% over the first quarter.
Arenas said that storms and landslides in northern Chile in March subtracted 0.6 points from the increase. “If one leaves aside the catastrophe in the north, growth in March would have been at 2%,” he said.
However Alberto Salas, president of the Production and Commerce Confederation, said the Chilean economy is still underperforming.
“It is true that the figures are better than expected, but those are figures we need to improve and they have little relevance compared with our economic capacity,” Salas said.
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