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Chilean mining production dropped in January

Staff writer |
Chilean factory output dropped sharply in January as mining output plunged, although retail sales in the Andean country held up.

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Manufacturing production fell 4.6% year-on-year, far more than the 3.3% decline which economists had penciled in.

Nine out of thirteen manufacturing subsectors registered a drop, as total production fell by the most since since the start of 2010. Mining output was 12.6% lower in comparison with a year ago. Production of metals saw the steepest decrease, followed by food.

Retail sales on the other hand grew by 3.4% year-on-year, edging past a consensus forecast for an increase of 3.3%.

Nonetheless, Andres Abadia, senior international economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told clients that: "On the consumer spending front, retail sales have been very volatile in recent months, and the underlying trend remains relatively soft.

"The acceleration in January partly reflects a rebound from a very weak reading in December, which has been revised marginally lower to 1.8% y/y, and a favourable base effect."

A sharp and unsustainable 12.2% year-on-year jump in automobile sales boosted those for durable goods, Abadia said.

"Looking ahead, we continue to expect the recovery in consumer spending to remain very modest", he added.

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