Chile GDP Grew 4.1% in Second Quarter Led by Retail and Mining

An investment and retail sales boom helped maintain Chile’s economic growth above 4 percent in the second quarter, while unexpectedly leaving the current account deficit little changed.

Gross domestic product rose 4.1 percent from last year, compared with revised expansion of 4.5 percent in the previous three months, the central bank said in a report posted on its website today. The median estimate of 17 analysts polled by Bloomberg was for growth of 4 percent. The current account gap was $1.63 billion, compared with $1.6 billion the year earlier and the median estimate of $3.9 billion.

The central bank kept borrowing costs unchanged at 5 percent on Aug. 13 for a 19th consecutive month as policy makers juggle the opposing pressures of a consumer spending boom and stagnant manufacturing output. Consumer demand remains “dynamic” and hasn’t slowed as much as economic activity, the bank said in a statement accompanying the decision, while signaling it may cut rates later in the year as growth slows from 5.6 percent in 2012.

Retail sales growth in the world’s top copper producer averaged an annual 10.6 percent in the second quarter, while manufacturing contracted an average 1.2 percent, according to the National Statistics Institute.

The current account deficit was 2.4 percent of GDP in the second quarter, little changed from 2.5 percent last year, the central bank reported today. Policy makers in July forecast the shortfall would reach $13.2 billion for the year, compared with $9.5 billion in 2012.

Chile had a trade surplus in goods and services of $299 million, the bank said. The price of copper, which accounts for more than half of Chile’s exports, has fallen 10 percent this year.

Investment expanded 9.3 percent from last year, compared with revised growth of 9.5 percent in the previous three months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Javiera Quiroga in Santiago at jquiroga5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net.

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