http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-201 ... esAmericas
SANTIAGO (Dow Jones)--The Chilean economy is quickly recovering from the devastating earthquake that hit the country in late February, with economic activity likely growing in April following a March contraction.
The fifth-strongest quake on record killed 521, cut off roads, toppled bridges, interrupted electricity, utilities and telecommunications serviced, and left a million people injured or homeless.
Although industrial output retreated 1.3% on the year in April, on a seasonally adjusted basis it surged 21.5% from March, the government statistics institute reported last week.
"The effects of the earthquake were transitory," said BBVA Chile chief economist Alejandro Puente.
But analysts noted that despite the recovery in industrial output, economic activity is being buoyed by intense domestic demand.
The Imacec, as the central bank's economic activity index is known, is expected to have grown 2.0% in April from a year earlier, according to the median estimate in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of nine economists. Estimates ranged from increases of 2.0% to 4.5%.
The central bank will publish the Imacec, which is considered a proxy for the country's gross domestic product because it encompasses 90% of the GDP's components, at 1230 GMT Monday.
"Clearly, domestic demand is catalyzing the Imacec's growth," said Rodrigo Aravena, head analyst at investment bank Banchile Inversiones.
In April, retail sales jumped 22.4% on a low basis of comparison, strong sales of textiles, robust demand for computers and television sets, and construction supplies, the statistics institute reported.
Supermarket sales for the month climbed 11.5% on the year, which was the sharpest gain for the month of April in the last seven years, according to the institute.
Copper output for the month, meanwhile, gained 6.4% versus April 2009. The temblor didn't put a dent in copper production since most of the country's copper mines are located roughly 2,000 kilometers north of the quake's epicenter.
Mining output rose 4.4% on the year in April. Mining activity in Chile, the world's largest copper producer, represents roughly 20% of the country's gross domestic product.
With the Imacec picking up in April, analysts see economic activity growing 3.5% on the year in the second quarter.
For 2010, the central bank expects GDP to grow 4.25%-5.25%, fueled in part by third and fourth quarter reconstruction efforts. In the first quarter, GDP rose 1% on the year, despite the devastating earthquake which pushed economic activity to contract a recently revised 2.9% on the year in March.
I was wondering, why isn't the CLP climbing yet?
“Now, a lifetime of experience has left me bitter and cynical.” ~ Calvin & Hobbes