WRAPUP 2-Chile Dec industrial output falls, jobless eases

* Industrial output falls unexpected 0.3 pct, peso tumbles

* Oct-Dec jobless rate eases to 8.6 pct

* Copper output up 3.8 pct in Dec
(Updates with fresh analyst comment, industrial sales)

By Antonio de la Jara

SANTIAGO, Jan 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Chile’s industrial output fell
unexpectedly in December, sending the peso tumbling, while the
jobless rate eased and a recovery from the global financial
crisis was seen safe.

Industrial output fell 0.3 percent in December from a year
earlier, dragged down by the salmon, food and drink sectors,
though the economy was still seen as exiting in late 2009 its
first recession since the Asia crisis a decade ago.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast industrial output would
increase by 1.2 percent in December (CLIP=ECI: ).

Output of the country’s main export, copper [CLCOPP=ECI],
however, rose nearly 4 percent in December from the same month
a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute said. Chile’s
is the world’s No. 1 copper producer.

Chile’s peso (CLP=CL: ), already weaker on uncertainty
following changes to pension fund hedging limits, extended
losses to trade around 2 percent lower following the output
data.

“It is a disappointment, but my impression is that it is
transitory, because if we look at the domestic market, we don’t
see an extended weakness there, particularly when we see
unemployment and retail sales figures,” said Alfredo Coutino,
Latin America director at Moody’s Economy.com.

“We do see a downward trend in unemployment, which means
the Chilean recovery is still in place, is generating jobs, and
that allows Chilean consumers to continue to spend,” he added.
“The weakness comes from the supply side, not from the demand
side.”

Output fell a seasonally adjusted 1.1 percent in December,
compared to November. Industrial sales fell 1.8 percent in
December from a year earlier.

“The pace of industrial output in December was mainly due
to continuous problems facing the salmon industry,” the INE
said, citing the impact of a virus that has ravaged salmon
populations. Output in the food and drink sectors both fell.

“Local manufacturing industry is still not showing signs
that guarantee recovery, due to the slow activation of external
demand and to the knock-on effect of lacking dynamism in the
local economy … which is evident mainly in the construction
sector,” it added.

Industrial production rose an unexpected 1.0 percent in
November from a year earlier, the government said last month.

Chile’s jobless rate for the October-December period eased
to 8.6 percent from 9.1 percent in the September-November
period reported last month, the INE said.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast a jobless rate of 8.8
percent. The unemployment rate for the October-December period
in 2008 was 7.5 percent.

Chile’s copper output rose 3.8 percent in December, and
increased 0.8 percent for all of 2009 to 5.4 million tonnes.

Output of molybdenum, used to strengthen steel, tumbled
25.8 percent to 2,667 tonnes, while full-year production for
the metal rose 3.9 percent to 34,954 tonnes.

Investing Basics

(Additional reporting by Fabian Cambero and Alonso Soto;
writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

WRAPUP 2-Chile Dec industrial output falls, jobless eases