SANTIAGO, May 11 (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Chile fell in April to its lowest since a 2009 recession as financial scandals, natural disasters and continued weak economic growth sapped sentiment, a survey by pollster GfK Adimark showed on Monday.
The poll of 1,100 people was conducted in April and does not take into consideration the dramatic cabinet shakeup center-left President Michelle Bachelet orchestrated earlier on Monday, which analysts generally said was a positive move.
Adimark’s monthly economic perception index fell to 38.3 in April, the lowest since mid-2009 and down from 39.7 in March. The index reading has been below the 50 level, which indicates the number of people negative on the economy outweighs the positive, since June.
“The political climate has not improved,” Adimark said. “Perhaps the opposite has happened, and nature, with the eruption of volcano Calbuco, appears determined to keep beating us up.”
The business and political establishment has been rocked by a tax and campaign financing scandal, while there also have been accusations that Bachelet’s son used his political connections to help his wife gain preferential access to a $10 million loan.
At the same time, signals on an expected rebound in economic growth in the top copper exporter remain mixed.
Economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 1.9 percent in 2014 and has been slow to recover in 2015, in part due to a series of natural disasters that have slammed Chile.
“Consumer confidence has been at pessimistic levels since the end of last year, and it has deteriorated further over the last two months,” the pollster said. “The expected ‘green shoots’ for the economy are clearly still nowhere to be found, at least not for consumers.” (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)