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flag Chile Chile: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

Although the Chilean economy is very open, it was able to resist well the 2007-2008 global crisis (-1.5% of GDP in 2009), as well as the impact of a violent earthquake in 2010 which had a total estimated cost of almost USD 30 billion in damages. Despite the tightening of its monetary policy and the uncertainty of the international situation, the country's growth increased by 6% during the period between 2010 and 2012, this was mainly due to a strong domestic demand. In 2013, the growth rate was 4.4%; Chile was affected by the slowdown of the Chinese economy, the decline in copper's prices and a reduction on investments.

Chile has the best performing economy in Latin America and its growth rate, which is one of the strongest in the OECD since 2010, should remain at a good level in 2014. The country is considered by the foreign investors as a model of economic stability. Chile, which joined the OECD in January 2010, remains exposed to the fluctuations in copper prices, being this country the largest producer and exporter of this metal. Following the violent earthquake that stroke the country in 2010, the government continued to focus on rehabilitation and reconstruction through fiscal measures and appropriate spending. The goal of the authorities is to reduce the structural deficit of the central government to 1% of GDP by 2014. In 2013, inflation was under control. Despite a strong domestic demand, inflation should remain moderate in the years to follow thanks to the strength of the national currency (Peso) and the stabilization of oil prices which has an impact on the import of products.The level of public debt is very low. Thanks to the copper's revenue, Chile has a sovereign fund of EUR 15 billion. In the long term, Chile will need to improve its productivity and break off from its dependence on copper (at the moment it represents one-half of its exports and almost one-fifth of its GDP) and it should also develop food production.

Chile's unemployment rate has gone down, it is 5.5% and it mainly affects the young people. Even though Chile has one of the highest GDP per capita in Latin America, poverty continues to affect almost 20% of its population and there is a high level of inequality (it is one of the countries of the OECD with the highest level of inequalities). The socialist Michelle Bachelet was elected president in December 2013 with a large majority. She should focus on the demands for more equality as well as the students who also demand education free of charge. She also wants to pass a new constitution and establish fiscal reforms. Lastly, indigenous people continue to claim their rights to ancestral lands.

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 250.84266.30276.97264.10279.65
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 14,54315,30215e14,911e15,653
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -1.0-0.6-1.0-1.5e-0.7
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -3.07-9.08-9.49e-4.85-3.89
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.2-3.4-3.4e-1.8e-1.4

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Chile's economy is dominated by the industrial and the service sectors. These two contribute to more than 96% of the GDP. The main activity sectors in Chile are mining (copper, coal and nitrate), manufactured products (agri-food processing, chemicals, wood) and agriculture (fishing, vineyard, fruits).

The agricultural sector contributes to about 3.5% of the GDP, the industrial sector to more than 37% and the services to 59.5%.

About 13% of the population work in the agricultural sector, more than 23% in the industries and 64% in the services.

The two main challenges in the Chilean economic are: breaking off from its traditional dependence on the price of copper (copper's production represents 50% of the country's exports, the collapse in its price during the financial crisis had a strong effect in Chile's economy) and developing the production of a self-sufficient food supply.

Agriculture and livestock farming are the main activities of the central and the southern parts of the country. Fruit and vegetable exports have reached historical records, thanks to a deliberate strategy of conquering the European, North-American and Asian markets, implemented in the 1990s. Chile benefits from its location in the Southern Hemisphere to offer fruits out of season to the countries of the Northern Hemisphere.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 10.3 23.4 66.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 3.4 35.3 61.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.3 3.7 4.3

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Chilean Peso (CLP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 560.86510.25483.67486.47495.27

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about Chile on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Mostly Free
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Chile has a very open economy which depends highly on international trade. In 2012 exports represented 38% of the country's GDP. Chile respects the terms of free-trade and has signed free-trade agreements (FTAs) with several important economies, especially with the European Union, the United States, China and South Korea.

Chile's top three customers are China (representing 23% of its national exports in 2012), the United States and Japan. The country mainly exports copper (50% of its exports), fruits and fish products. Chile's main suppliers are the United States, China, Argentina and Brazil. Imports involve mainly fuels, minerals and oil, machinery, vehicles, electric equipment and electronics.

Chile's trade balance is structurally positive, a trend that should continue and become even stronger despite the evolution in the demand for copper. However, this surplus was lower in 2013 (USD 2.4 billion against USD 3.4 billion in 2012) due to the drop of the global price for copper combined with the uptrend appreciation of the national currency and the increase in imports. Chile's dynamic trade with the rest of the world remains steady. Its comparative advantages on the economic level (mining income, competitiveness and counter-seasonal agriculture) give it access to the large markets of North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific (and recently, to South America as well, especially Brazil).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 42,42759,38874,90879,46879,621
Exports of Goods (million USD) 53,73570,89781,41178,27777,367
Imports of Services (million USD) 9,35112,68315,37214,72315,595
Exports of Services (million USD) 8,40110,72913,00912,50212,613
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -16.225.915.65.02.2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 29.631.834.934.232.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)
Trade Balance (million USD) 15,36015,73611,0402,5082,117
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 13,35013,8577,987231-791
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 66.869.872.968.465.5

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
China 24.9%
United States 12.8%
Japan 9.9%
Brazil 5.8%
South Korea 5.5%
See More Countries 41.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
United States 20.3%
China 19.7%
Brazil 6.5%
Argentina 5.0%
Germany 4.0%
See More Countries 44.5%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought ...Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 24.5%
Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates 22.0%
Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic...Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic refining 4.6%
Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl....Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl. dissolving grades) 3.7%
Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not...Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not minced, fresh, chilled or frozen 2.6%
See More Products 42.6%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 9.0%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 8.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.7%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.3%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony,...Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.5%
See More Products 71.2%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of the Economy (in Spanish)
Statistical Office
National Statitics Institute
Central Bank
Central Bank of Chile
Stock Exchange
Santiago Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Chile busca
Guia websites
Economic Portals
Economic information portal of the Chilean Ministry of the Economy
Economy watch
Business News Americas
Latin American Economy
Latin Focus Chile
Estrategia (Chilean business newspaper)

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Political Outline

Executive Power
President is both the chief of state and head of government, and holds the executive powers. President appoints the Cabinet and has the authority to remove the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces. P resident is elected by popular vote for a single four-year term.
Legislative Power
The legislature is bicameral. The parliament called National Congress consists of: Senate (the upper house) with its members elected by popular vote to serve eight-year terms, and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) with its members elected by popular vote to serve four-year. Chile's congressional elections are governed by a unique binomial system that rewards coalition representations. Each coalition can run two candidates for the two Senate and two Deputy seats apportioned to each electoral district and parties are forced to form wide coalitions. Historically, the two largest coalitions (Concertacion and Alianza) split most of the seats in a district. The citizens of Chile enjoy considerable political rights.
Main Political Parties
The main political parties are: PDC (Christian Democratic Party), PRSD (Radical Social Democratic Party), PS (Socialist Party), PPD (Party for Democracy), RN (National Renewal), UDI (Independent Democratic Union) and PC (Communist Party)
Current Political Leaders
President: Michelle BACHELET Jeria (since 11 March 2014) – Socialist Party of Chile (PSC)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 19 November 2017

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
2 places up compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: January 2015