Chile’s February copper production down 7%, manufacturing output dips

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: File Photo: A view of the BHP Billiton's Escondida, the world's biggest copper mine, in northern Chile, in Antofagasta
FILE PHOTO: A view of the BHP Billiton's Escondida, the world's biggest copper mine, in northern Chile, in Antofagasta, Chile March 31, 2008. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

March 31, 2022

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Copper output in Chile, the world’s largest producer of the metal, fell 7% year on year to 399,817 tonnes in February, the country’s statistics agency said on Thursday.

This follows a drop of 7.5% year-over-year in January and a 1.9% decline in copper production in 2021.

The agency also reported that the Andean country’s manufacturing output dropped 2.2% in February, lagging the market forecast of a 0.5% rise.

The agency said a 9% year-on-year dip in chemical products and substances manufacturing because of lower fertilizer production was largely responsible for the manufacturing drop.

Another contributor to the drop in output was “less manufacturing of manufactured products of common metals (such as copper or steel) moulded, forged or stamped,” the agency said.

One sector that did show growth, the agency said, was production of pharmaceutical products due to an increased demand by pharmacies.

On Wednesday Chile’s central bank dropped its prediction for 2022 economic growth to 1.0%-2.0% from a previous estimate of 1.5%-2.5% in December.

(Reporting by Alexander Villegas,; Editing by David Goodman and Ed Osmond)