Chile:  First impacts of protests, uncertainty remains

Chile: First impacts of protests, uncertainty remains

Real GDP grew +0.7% q/q in Q3 2019, the same as in Q2. Compared to the same quarter last year, it grew at a solid +3.3%. The good news is that exports recovered (+2.9% q/q after -1.6% in Q2); the bad news is that investment slowed (+1.4% q/q after +3.2% in Q2). In addition, non-mining activity took a hit in September. Yet, figures do not account for ongoing social protests, which started late October. Data for that month provide us with first impacts of the protests: First, consumer sentiment was at its lowest level in three years. Then, vehicle sales dropped -26% compared to September and -24% y/y, the largest drop in four years. Imports of consumer and capital goods saw significant declines as well. Finally, the Chilean peso’s volatility has not abated, despite the fact that Chilean lawmakers recently agreed on a mechanism to change the constitution, and despite the fact that the president condemned police abuses. Continued currency volatility (-12% against the USD since mid-October, and the threshold of CLP800 per USD1 crossed) reflects the uncertainty surrounding the content of the constitution. We also expect weak activity data for October and November.