Chile’s Finance Minister Felipe Larraín announced at the headquarters of MEDEF, the national association of French employers and industry today that the country aims to equal the wealth of developed countries, with annual economic growth estimated at 6%.
«If we grow by an annual 6% for 8 years, this will bring per-capita income up to US$ 22,000″, equivalent to Portugal and would place Chile at the same level as first world countries, according to Larraín, who stated that this challenge is the government’s «number one objective».
This economic progression initially planned for President Sebastián Piñera’s mandate (2010-2014) should lead to the creation of 200,000 jobs per year.
«The Chilean economy has a solid macroeconomic foundation» stated Larraín before recalling that it was the copper exploitation revenue sovereign fund that led to a national surplus amounting to 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) during «a bad year» for copper prices in 2009.
Larraín also argued that «Chile’s currently unique position» was another factor behind this surplus, because nominal public debt accounts for no more than 20% of the country’s GDP.
In addition, the Minister of Finance stated that «inflation is under control», that the inflationary effects economic consequences following the earthquake in February of this year are «negligible» and that price hikes this year will be less than 3%.
His presentation largely focused on the economic impart of the mega-earthquake that hit the country on 27 February 2010. In keeping with the same, Larraín recalled that net infrastructure losses reported after insurance payment amounted to US$ 9.3 billion and insisted that «we are going to rebuild better», affirming that investment over the first quarter was up 9.3% and that an increase amounting to 15% is expected in 2010.