Chilean trade has reached US$101 billion in the first seven months of 2021, 36% higher than in the same period in 2020, according to a report prepared by the International Economic Relations Undersecretary (SUBREI) with figures from Chile’s Central Bank. This figure is the highest ever for Chilean foreign trade, surpassing the US$100 billion barrier for the first time by July.
Exports and imports registered record values during the period. Exports rose (ore +52%; agriculture and livestock +5%; industrial products +3%) to US$53 billion, a 29% increase compared to 2020. Imports amounted to US$48 billion, an increase of 45% (consumer goods +69%; intermediate goods +38%; capital goods +35%) compared to the same period in 2020.
As for products, Chilean exports continue to be led by copper, whose foreign sales reached a record of US$30 billion, a 54% increase compared to 2020. These figures represent 57% of Chile’s total shipments. The international price of copper averaged US$414 ¢/lb. during the period, exceeding the 62% average for the same period in 2020, while at the same time registering its highest value since the first seven months of 2011 (US$427 ¢/lb.).
The International Economic Relations (SUBREI) Undersecretary, Rodrigo Yáñez, pointed out that in most of the world the progress with vaccination programs and the reduction in pandemic-related restrictions are driving the demand for goods and services through face-to-face sales channels, stimulating the replenishing of inventories for the second half of the year and preparing for end of the year supplies, a situation that has marked an upturn in productive and commercial activity with our major trading partners, including China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and South Korea.
“Despite these encouraging signs, we must remain alert to the different scenarios that could affect the performance of our international trade, such as the strict quarantine in the ports in China or the fast- spreading Delta variant of COVID-19 that poses the threat of restrictive measures being reintroduced in various regions around the world,” said the Minister.
In July, Chile´s commercial trade totaled US$16 billion, an increase of 41% compared to the same month in 2020. This is the largest commercial trade figure for a single month since records began.
“Chile’s trade has now experienced eleven successive monthly increases, supported by eleven consecutive months of increased exports. Meanwhile, imports had also experienced month-on-month increases for the six months to July, illustrating how important foreign trade is for the country’s economic recovery,” explained Undersecretary Yáñez.
Exports in the month of July totaled US$8 billion, 27% higher than in July 2020 and the foreign sales of over 1,700 products and services have increased. The highlights include salmon, walnuts, fresh apples, services, clementines, wooden moldings, live cattle, wooden doors, prunes, bottled Carmenère wine, frozen turkey breasts, fresh kiwi fruit, organic olive oil, lemons, mussels, lupins, jack mackerel among others.
Service exports totaled US$86 million, registering a 16% increase compared to July 2020. Service exports in information technologies accounted for 24% of the total, followed by financial services, call center services and telephone operations.
Lastly, imports in July totaled US$8 billion, marking a 58% increase compared to July 2021, surpassing the US$8 billion mark for one single month, a situation not recorded since October 2012 (US$8.3 billion). The import boom has been supported by increases in imports of petroleum oil, automobiles, trucks, cell phones, natural gas, excavators, computers, wheat, ships, vaccines, meat, exercise equipment, t-shirts, PCR reagents, fiber optic cables, televisions, among others.