June 14, 2013

Chile has shown tremendous progress since the financial crash of 2008. Overall GDP has grown by nearly 50% over the last five years. Unemployment peaked at just under 11% in 2009 and has steadily improved to 6.1% in April, even lower than 2012's 6.5%. In addition, wages per hour are up over 20% from 2009 levels.

Higher unemployment and stronger wages have boosted the Chilean consumer. Chile's retail sales grew by 10.8% during April from a year earlier after expanding by 10.2% from a year earlier in March. And overall Chilean consumer spending is also up nearly 50% since the financial crisis.

As Chile's economy has grown, it has diversified away from being a commodity-dependent economy, and invested more in technology, financial services and agribusiness. However, a portion of this growth has been fueled by government investment in infrastructure and technology. Total Chilean government debt is alarmingly up from 3% to 12% of GDP over the past five years. 

Yet, Government debt is still rated "stable" with a AA rating. Chile now has the highest GDP per capita in Latin America and the World Bank has also ranked its global competitiveness the highest in Latin America. With a GDP at 10% of Brazil’s size, there is still a lot of room for Chile to grow.

Alexander Fleiss serves as Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Rebellion Research Partners LP, a Global Macro hedge fund and financial advisory that invests across all asset classes and is ...