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Country Forecast Chile September 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Chile September 2017 Updater

  • September 2017
  • ID: 1698581
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • As the November 2017 election moves closer, the president, Michelle Bachelet, will focus on social issues rather than further structural reform, and the focus will shift increasingly to the proposals of her eventual successor. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the Chile Vamos coalition to win the election, most likely with the former president, Sebastián Piñera (2010-14), as its standard-bearer. Mr Piñera will benefit from dissatisfaction with the current government, and his reputation as a strong manager of the economy during his previous time in office.
  • Ms Bachelet's energetic but haphazard implementation of reforms has spooked the private sector and unnerved the Chilean public, and has been blamed for exacerbating a cyclical economic slowdown. The next government will therefore adopt a less ambitious agenda, focusing on streamlining reforms already in train rather than introducing new ones. Ongoing investment in infrastructure and education will lay a foundation for firmer long-term growth.
  • GDP growth will decelerate slightly in 2017, to 1.2%. Still-weak private consumption and investment growth will weigh on the economy, as will reduced external demand for Chile's exports. We expect an acceleration in 2018 as consumer demand and investment recover, but economic slowdown in China from 2018 and in the US in 2020 will keep growth weak in 2019-21.
  • Inflation will remain within the central bank's 2-4% target in 2017-21. The fiscal deficit will also narrow throughout the forecast period. Following loosening in 2017, monetary policy will resume a tightening trend later in the forecast period, especially as the economy improves in 2018. Weaker external conditions in 2020, which will bring a renewed drop in copper prices, will cause the current-account deficit to widen in 2020-21.
  • Market opportunities are constrained by Chile's small population (an estimated 17.9m in 2016), but high income levels (bolstered by real wage gains and low inflation) will support growth in consumer expenditure, even as unemployment rates remain relatively high. Political stability and good economic management will continue to attract high levels of foreign investment.
  • Chile's business environment will remain the highest-ranked regionally. The positive effect of reforms to education, energy and infrastructure will begin to be felt later in the forecast period, although some deficiencies will persist. A drive towards renewable energy generation will yield significant progress.

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