Chile's New Manufacturing Index Increases 3.7% in January

Chilean manufacturing expanded 3.7 percent in January from a year ago in a new index created by the National Statistics Institute that uses a different base year.

Mining contracted 6.7 percent from a year ago, while retail sales grew 6.3 percent and supermarket revenue expanded 3.2 percent, the institute said in a report today. Chile’s economy climbed an estimated 4.2 percent in January on growth in manufacturing and retail sales, Cristobal Doberti, an economist at Bice Inversiones, said by telephone today.

A new industrial production index, dubbed IPI for its Spanish initials, fell 1.2 percent in January from the previous year, the institute said. The index includes mining, manufacturing and utilities.

“The IPI didn’t exist before, and the manufacturing index has a different base year than the previous industrial production data, meaning it stands alone and can’t be compared to previous reports,” Doberti said from Santiago. “Obviously this change created more volatility in the data with respect to what was expected, but you can still draw conclusions from it.”

The median estimate of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for industrial production to increase 2.1 percent in January.

Today’s data uses a base year of 2009 rather than 2002 in previous reports. The new manufacturing index gives a higher weighting to items like food and beverages as well as paper and a lower weighting to goods such as tobacco and chemicals.

Industrial production grew 0.5 percent in December from the previous year while the central bank’s Imacec index that serves as a proxy for gross domestic product climbed 5.3 percent.

Copper production fell 7.6 percent in January from the previous year to 396,341 metric tons, the institute said today. Chile is the world’s leading producer of the metal.

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