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UPDATE 1-Chile economic activity rises 0.1 pct in Feb from Jan
April 5, 2012 / 12:51 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Chile economic activity rises 0.1 pct in Feb from Jan

* Chile IMACEC grows 0.1 pct in Feb from Jan
    * Economic activity expands 6.1 pct in Feb yr/yr
    * Rate seen held as bank adopts 'wait-and-see' mode

 (Adds background, details)	
    SANTIAGO, April 5 (Reuters) - Chile's economic activity grew
0 .1 percent in February f rom January, the central bank on
Thursday said, led by gains in retail, manufacturing and mining,
and unlikely to change expectations the bank will hold its key
rate steady in coming months.  	
    Year-over-year, the IMACEC indicator of
economic activity in the world's top copper producer Chile rose
6.1 percent in February, coming in below market expectations for
6.4 percent growth. 	
     "Once more, retail contributed to the expansion, but this
time so did manufacturing and mining," Bci Estudios said in a
note to clients. "We expect an Imacec between 4 percent and 5
percent for March, which would mean a first quarter expansion
between 5 percent and 5.5 percent, somewhat above potential
growth." 	
    The somewhat lower-than-expected reading for February, as
well as inflation that slowed in March, should boost
expectations the central bank will keep its key rate at 5.0
percent in coming months as it adopts a 'wait-and-see' mode,
weighing global economic risks against a better-than-expected
local data. 	
  	
    The February IMACEC data marks the second consecutive month
seasonally-adjusted economic activity's growth rate has eased
from the previous month. Chile's economy grew 0.3 percent in
January from December, also slowing its pace from the
immediately prior month, the central bank has said, but grew 1.3
percent in December from November. [ID :nC0E8C500T]	
    The central bank cut rates in January, the first reduction
in 2-1/2 years, on fears easing global demand would hit the
export-dependent country, but an expected slowdown in Chile has
so far been softer than expected. 	
    The bank says the rate is now at levels neutral to the
economy, though the market sees rates increasing by year-end on
an uptick in inflation in December and February and a healthier
global economic outlook.	
    Chile's central bank on Tuesday raised its 2012 economic
growth forecast to between 4.0 percent and 5.0 percent from 3.75
percent and 4.75 percent and raised its inflation view to 3.5
percent from a previously-forecast 2.7 percent. 	
   The central bank calculates its month-on-month IMACEC data in
seasonally adjusted terms. A monthly gauge, the IMACEC measures
more than 90 percent of the components comprising Chile's gross
domestic product, which is published quarterly.  	
	
 (Reporting By Santiago Newsroom; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer;
Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

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