Chilean Manufacturing Unexpectedly Rebounds as Economy Picks Up

Chilean manufacturing unexpectedly rose for the first time in three months in April, while retail sales also increased more than expected.

Manufacturing gained 0.8 percent from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said on its website Friday, compared with the median estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg for a decline of 2 percent. Retail sales rose 3.3 percent over the same period, compared with the 1.9 percent forecast.

Economic growth accelerated to 2.4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier from 1.8 percent in the previous three months, with domestic demand rising for the first time since 2013. Policy makers kept borrowing costs unchanged at 3 percent for the seventh consecutive month in May with some policy makers warning that recent indicators showed growth may be losing dynamism “at the margin.”

On March 30, the bank maintained its growth forecast for this year at 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in its quarterly monetary policy report. Policy makers will publish a new report on June 3.

The jobless rate was unchanged at 6.1 percent in the three months through April from the month-earlier period, the statistics agency said in a separate report Friday. The medium estimate of 16 analysts polled by Bloomberg was for unemployment to rise to 6.2 percent.

Bank lending climbed 4.75 percent above inflation in April from the year earlier, slowing from 5.68 percent the month before, the bank regulator said Friday in another report.