Chile Quake Spurs Cement-Maker Surge on Rebuilding Wagers

Chilean cement makers jumped on speculation last night’s earthquake will spur demand for construction materials.

Cementos Bio Bio SA, the country’s largest producer, gained the most in four years, climbing 8.8 percent to 559 pesos at the close in Santiago and earlier jumped as much as 17 percent. Melon SA, another Chilean cement maker, soared 41 percent to 0.45 pesos on volume 23 times the three-month average. The IPSA stock gauge advanced 0.4 percent.

The magnitude-8.2 temblor left six people dead as President Michelle Bachelet ordered the military to help maintain order. A magnitude-8.8 tremor and tsunami in 2010, at the end of Bachelet’s first presidency, left more than 500 dead. Yesterday’s quake struck at 8:47 p.m. local time 95 kilometers (59 miles) off the coast of the northern city of Iquique, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Bio Bio has cement production plants in northern Chile and “investors are betting it will benefit from this,” Cesar Perez, the head of research for BTG Pactual in Chile, said in a telephone interview.

Masisa SA, a maker of particle boards used in furniture, advanced 1.4 percent to 30.32 pesos after earlier jumping 7 percent.

E.CL SA, northern Chile’s largest power producer, fell 0.8 percent to 714.37 pesos and earlier retreated 4.2 percent, the most intraday since November. E.CL is normalizing operations at one of its plants that had to shut down operations last night, according to a statement. Other plants are operating normally.

Peso, Bonds

The peso weakened 0.5 percent to 553.42 per dollar. Yields on five-year government bonds denominated in pesos rose 0.02 percentage point to 4.8 percent.

“Information so far shows that there haven’t been major disruptions to economic activity or damage to infrastructure,” Mauricio Pena, the head of research at Banco Penta, said in a phone interview from Santiago. “Nothing that would justify a major move in the exchange rate.”

The 2010 earthquake struck off the coast of the southern city of Talcahuano and caused more than $30 billion in damage. The peso rallied 3.1 percent in the following week amid speculation that the government would repatriate overseas savings to fund reconstruction.

Copper, Chile’s biggest export, touched a three-week high of $3.074 a pound in New York on speculation the quake may have damaged mines. The metal pared gains to 0.1 percent, climbing to $3.037 a pound, as producers from Teck Resources Ltd. to Pan Pacific Copper Co. said their mines were unaffected.

Television Nacional said the tremor triggered waves that damaged fishing boats and the dock in Iquique, caused landslides and caused at least one fire in the northern city.

A church tower in the town of Huara collapsed after the tremor, the local mayor Carlos Silva told TVN.

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