SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s economic activity fell 1.2% in October from a year ago, the central bank said on Tuesday, as the Chilean economy inched closer to growth after months of contraction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The bank’s IMACEC economic activity index encompasses about 90% of the economy tallied in gross domestic product figures. The October figure was the economy’s best showing since February, when the economy grew 3.3%, bank statistics show.
But economic activity in Chile remained hobbled by the coronavirus outbreak, the bank said, even though cases of COVID-19 have fallen with the onset the southern hemisphere’s spring.
The bank said a drop in the production of goods and services had largely driven the contraction, but added the impact was softened by gains in commerce as quarantines were lifted across much of the nation.
Chile’s mining activity also grew by 1.6% in October, the bank said, a persistent bright spot during the pandemic.
Most of Chile’s sprawling copper mines maintained output even at the height of the country’s outbreak in May and June, a lifeline for an economy that depends on metals exports.
(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Andrew Heavens)