Emerging Markets / November 9, 2018

Trade, Macroeconomics & Agribusiness in Chile

Chile is a presidential republic located along the southwestern coastline of South America. With a total territory of 756.102 square kilometers, Chile is almost twice the size of Montana. Moreover Chile is dominated by the rugged Andes Mountains to the east and 6.435 kilometers of coastal plains along the Pacific Ocean to the west. Likewise, the country shares borders with Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

Trade, Macroeconomics & Agribusiness in Chile

Currently, Chile has a total population of 18 million citizens, with an average age of 34 years. Furthermore, about 88% of the population lives in an urban setting, notably the capital city of Santiago with its 7 million inhabitants. The annual gross domestic product (GDP) of Chile is US$451 billion (PPP) and the national economy has experienced positive growth upwards of 1.0% in recent years. As of today, the national economy is divided into 5% agriculture, 31% manufacturing, and 64% services. Meanwhile, the national labor force is divided into 9% working in the agriculture industry, 24% working in the industrial sector, and 67% working in services. Similarly, the national agriculture industry utilizes about 21% of the national territory, while another 22% is forested.

In terms of natural resources, Chile has copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, molybdenum, and hydropower. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on mineral processing, foodstuffs, fish processing, metallurgy, wood products, transport equipment, cement, and textiles. Simultaneously, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans, beef, poultry, wool, and fish.

In terms of trade, Chile is the world’s 41st largest export economy. During 2016, the country imported US$57.5 billion worth of goods and exported US$62.1 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$4.6 billion. Furthermore, that same year, the country’s main export, representing 20% or US$12.6 billion of the total, was refined copper. On the other hand, Chile’s main import, representing 5.8% or US$3.3 billion of all international purchases, were cars. Meanwhile, Chile’s main trading partners are China, the United States, Brazil, the European Union, and Japan.

Unfortunately, in Chile, some 600.000 people suffer from undernourishment. In recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the Chilean population has been 43 grams daily. Simultaneously, land distribution and output in the country have evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in Chile covered 9.55 million hectares, while arable land covered 3.64 million hectares and permanent crops covered 196.000 hectares. More recently, by 2016, permanent pastures and meadows had increased to cover 14 million hectares, while arable land represented 1.3 million hectares and permanent crops accounted for 457.000 hectares.

Likewise, the domestic cereals market in Chile has evolved during the last half century. During the early 1960s, the country devoted approximately 1 million hectares of land to the production of cereals and produced between 1.4 million and 1.7 million metric tons annually. In 2016, Chile devoted 565.000 hectares of land to cereals production and yielded some 3.9 million metric tons.

(Read more about Agribusiness, Trade & Economics in Germany)

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