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economy

 

Economy—overview:
Chile has a prosperous, essentially free market economy. Civilian governments - which took over from the military in March 1990—have continued to reduce the government's role in the economy while shifting the emphasis of public spending toward social programs. Growth in real GDP averaged more than 7.0% in 1991-1997, and inflation is nearing a 40-year low.
Chile's currency and foreign reserves also are strong, as sustained foreign capital inflows—including significant direct investment—have more than offset current account deficits and public debt buybacks. President FREI, who took office in March 1994, has placed improving Chile's education system and developing foreign export markets at the top of his economic agenda. Despite this progress, the Chilean economy remains largely dependent on a few sectors—particularly copper mining, fishing, and forestry.
Success in meeting the government's goal of sustained annual economic growth of 5% depends largely on world prices for these commodities, continued foreign investor confidence, and the government's ability to maintain a conservative fiscal stance. In 1996, Chile became an associate member of Mercosur and concluded a Free Trade Agreement with Canada.

GDP: purchasing power parity:
$168.5 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate:
7.1% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita:
purchasing power parity—$11,600 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 33%
services: 59% (1995 est.)
Inflation rate—consumer price index: 6% (1997)

Labor force:
total: 5.7 million (1997 est.)
by occupation: services 38.3% (includes government 12%), industry and commerce 33.8%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 19.2%, mining 2.3%, construction 6.4% (1990)
Unemployment rate: 6.1% (1997)

Budget:
revenues: $17 billion
expenditures: $17 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries:
copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Industrial production growth rate:
4.2% (1997)

Electricity—capacity:
5.504 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production:
24.5 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita:
1,730 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products:
wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, fruit; beef, poultry, wool; timber; 1991 fish catch of 6.6 million metric tons

Exports:
total value: $16.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: copper 37%, other metals and minerals 8.2%, wood products 7.1%, fish and fishmeal 9.8%, fruits 8.4% (1994)
partners: EU 25%, US 15%, Asia 34%, Latin America 20% (1995 est.)

Imports:
total value: $18.2 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: capital goods 25.2%, spare parts 24.8%, raw materials 15.4%, petroleum 10%, foodstuffs 5.7% (1994)
partners: EU 18%, US 25%, Asia 16%, Latin America 26% (1995 est.)

Debt—external:
$26.7 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $50.3 million (1996 est.)

Currency:
1 Chilean peso (Ch$) = 100 centavos