Chilean economy fares well despite rough seas in world markets

Chile ended 2011 as one of the most dynamic economies in Latin America, and ECLAC predicts continued dynamism in 2012.

Chile’s dynamic economic growth is expected to shelter it from the worst of the storm that’s brewing abroad, said the UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC, commonly known as CEPAL: Comisión Económica Para América Latina y el Caribe).

In a report published earlier this month, ECLAC predicted that Chile will close 2011 with a growth rate of 6.3 percent, making it the fifth-most dynamic economy in Latin America. Panama led the region in economic growth this year, with an estimated rate of 10.5 percent, followed by Argentina (9 percent), Ecuador (8 percent) and Peru (7 percent).

Latin America will achieve an overall growth rate of around 3.7 percent in 2011, according to the ECLAC offices, located in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

In terms of the year ahead and the economic challenges facing the European Union, ECLAC’s forecasts for Latin America were cautious, but optimistic.

According to Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, the projected rate of 4.2 economic growth for Chile in 2012 “is not bad. It’s higher than average… [Chile] continues to be a relatively dynamic country.”

ECLAC highlighted Chile’s efforts to cement a “Latin American Pacific Arch” with other regional leaders, in order to create economic and commercial synergies in the face of instability overseas.

“We are very happy to see what Chile is trying to do with Peru, Colombia and Mexico in terms of the Latin American Pacific Arch. I believe it is an extremely important measure to try to coordinate commercial, monetary, financial and stock exchange policies,” Bárcena said. “Innovative solutions must be sought, and I believe that this is a good example.”

The day after the report’s publication, Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín acknowledged the challenges facing the world economy, but said that Chile’s competitive economy was well-prepared to meet them. Larraín told local press that Chile has both the monetary and fiscal margins to survive an economic downturn.