The Chilean economy grew 0.1% (QoQ SA; -1.1% in 3Q) between 3Q and 4Q22, below the Bloomberg median of +0.6% QoQ/SA, with domestic demand and inventory accumulation as the main drags, while the rise in net exports contained a sharper decline. In annual terms, activity fell by 2.3% in 4Q, deeper than the -1.6% estimated from the monthly GDP proxy (IMACEC), mainly due to statistical revisions in the transport sector. The economy posted its first (slightly) positive sequential quarterly growth print after three consecutive contractions. The economy’s growth rate fell to 2.4% in 2022, below the 2.7% anticipated from the monthly GDP proxy, down from 11.7% in 2021, pointing to slightly faster deceleration in the year. While the economy grew in line with the BCCh’s December IPOM forecast of 2.4%, private consumption has performed better than the Central Bank’s baseline scenario (+20bps to 2.9%), which appears to have persisted in the January data (services rose 2.7% MoM/SA).
Domestic demand normalization continued in 4Q, reflected by a growing net export contribution. Private consumption fell 4.7% YoY (-2.4% in 3Q), with durable goods dropping 18.1% due to elevated base effects. Meanwhile, non-durables decreased 7.9% (-7.1% in 3Q), and services grew 2.2%, a sharp deceleration from previous quarters (20% and 7.9% in 2Q and 3Q respectively). The fiscal consolidation continued during 4Q with a 2.1% YoY public consumption contraction (+6.8% in 2Q; +2.8% in 3Q). Fixed investment decreased 1.7% YoY (0.5% in 3Q), with both components posting negative results (construction -1.9%; machinery and equipment -1.1%). On the other hand, exports grew 1.6% YoY, mainly pulled by the services and agriculture sectors, while imports fell 15.8% YoY (-2.6% in 3Q), resulting in a large positive net-export contribution (+5.9pp; +2.2pp in 3Q). On the supply-side, activity in the quarter was pulled down by Transport (-16% YoY; -0.8pp of contribution).
At the margin, activity registered a mild growth of 0.2% qoq/saar during 4Q22 (-4.4% in 3Q22).
Private and public consumption dropped 1.4% qoq/saar in 4Q22 (8% fall in 3Q22), mainly pulled by the fall of durable goods (-13% qoq/saar), where non-durable goods continued to weaken (falling 7.3% qoq/saar). Meanwhile, consumption of services pulled activity up with a 3.8% qoq/saar growth. Gross fixed investment decreased 2.0% qoq/saar, partially unwinding the 8.1% rise in 3Q, reinforcing our view of the 3Q boost in investment as transitory. Exports decreased 2.3%, while imports declined at a double-digit rate (26.3%).
We expect the economy to slow further in 2023 to register a 0.7% contraction. The statistical carryover for this year (by maintaining the 4Q22 SA GDP level throughout the year), sits at a 0.7% contraction (40bps deeper than indicated by the initial IMACEC information).
Andrés Pérez M.
Ignacio Martinez Labra