SANTIAGO, CHILE: Chile’s Finance Minister announced on Monday $600 million in supplemental stimulus in an effort to kick-start the leading copper producer’s poor economy, which has experienced a downturn in mining and global trade volatility.
Finance Minister Felipe Larrain said the administration of moderate-right President Sebastian Pinera planned to inject the finance, drawn from elsewhere in the country’s budget, into road construction, healthcare, water projects and subsidized housing through 2020.
“The trade wars have worsened and Chile is not immune,” Larrain told reporters.
Chile, which produces almost a third of the world’s copper, has suffered amid struggling global prices for the metal. Heavy rainfall in the country’s normally dry northern desert, home to multiple mines, labor strife and a ferocious drought in its central agricultural region have taken their toll as well.
Larrain added that $63 million was reserved for irrigation projects intended to help reduce the consequences of drought in central Chile, where vineyards and other fruit production are dominant.
Chilean officials have on many occasions lowered expectations for growth in 2019, making the Pinera administration to enact $3 billion in new stimulus projects over the last several months.
In July, Larrain estimated the economy would grow 3.2 percent in 2019, down from a previous estimate of 3.5 percent in April.