(Adds details on growth forecasts, monetary policy outlook)
SANTIAGO, April 3 Chile's central bank cut its
forecast for gross domestic product growth in 2017 to a range of
1.0 percent to 2.0 percent, it said Monday, warning that a long
strike at the world's biggest copper mine would likely shave off
0.2 percentage points in the year.
That compared with a previous growth estimate of 1.5 percent
to 2.5 percent.
In its quarterly monetary policy report (IPoM), the bank
said the 43-day-long strike at BHP Billiton Plc-owned
Escondida, which ended without a clear resolution in March,
would take an entire percentage point off growth in the first
Escondida produced over 1 million tonnes of copper last
year, about 5 percent of the world's total, and significantly
more than any other individual deposit.
Outside of the strike, persistently weak economic activity
and investment in Chile has led the bank to cut the interest
rate 50 basis points so far this year, and the bank
has left the door open to more stimulus.
"The base case assumes that the monetary policy rate will
continue to be expansive," said central bank head Mario Marcel
in a speech to senators on Monday as he presented the report.
(Reporting by Antonio de la Jara and Gram Slattery; Editing by