UPDATE 1-Chilean economy flat in second quarter, beats forecasts

martes 18 de agosto de 2015 08:17 GYT

(Adds details from central bank report, past figures)

SANTIAGO Aug 18 (Reuters) - A slight improvement in most sectors of the economy led Chile's gross domestic product to beat forecasts for the second quarter, registering zero growth compared with the prior quarter but expanding 1.9 percent from a year ago.

A Reuters poll had forecast a 0.1 percent fall quarter on quarter. In both 2014 and 2013 the economy of the top copper exporter shrunk 0.1 percent in the second quarter compared with the first quarter.

Compared with the same quarter a year ago, the economy grew 1.9 percent, the central bank reported on Tuesday, topping forecasts for 1.7 percent growth. Overall growth in the first half of the year was 2.2 percent.

Economic growth slowed to a five-year low of 1.9 percent in Chile last year as mining investments and consumer demand cooled. The bank expects the economy to gradually rebound this year, but warned it depended largely on sustained demand from top trade partner China.

"The GDP result is explained by a marginal increase in most sectors, alongside falls in fishing and restaurants and hotels," the bank said in its report.

The key mining sector was up slightly versus a year ago but slipped compared to the last quarter. New mines and improved ore grades have boosted output at some mines, but problems related to climate, labor relations and equipment have held back others.

In the first quarter of 2015, Chile's economy grew 1.1 percent compared with the final quarter of 2014. On Tuesday, the bank also revised upwards slightly its growth figure for the first quarter to 2.5 percent, compared with a year ago. (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien Editing by W Simon and J Benkoe)