Chile Peso Strengthens on Stimulus Bets, Faster Growth Surprise

Chile’s peso advanced for the first time in four days on speculation Europe will bolster stimulus and data showing that the Andean nation’s economy grew faster than forecast.

The peso appreciated 0.3 percent to 472.81 per U.S. dollar at the close in Santiago, extending its gain in the past three months to 1.4 percent. Copper, the country’s biggest export, rallied 0.5 percent to $3.5175 a pound on the Comex in New York.

European finance ministers opened the way to looser budget policies after a backlash against austerity in Italy and France. Chilean economic activity expanded 6.7 percent in the 12 months through January, beating economists’ estimates for the sixth straight month.

“The activity data came out and there are expectations of greater stimulus in developed economies, so everything indicates the dollar could fall a little more,” said Ronald Volpi, the head of spot currency trading at EuroAmerica Corredores de Bolsa SA in Santiago.

Copper, which makes up 50 percent of Chile’s exports, rose after China’s government announced it would keep its economic growth target unchanged from 2012 at 7.5 percent. China, the biggest buyer of Chile’s copper, plans to open more than 5,200 kilometers (3,231 miles) of new railroad lines and build 80,000 kilometers of highways, the National Development and Reform Commission said today.

International investors in the forwards market increased net bets against the peso to $2.9 billion on March 1, the most since Jan. 16.

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