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SANTIAGO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Chile’s fiscal deficit widened in 2014 compared to the previous year as income from its top export copper fell, and government spending rose.
The South American country posted a fiscal deficit of 1.6 percent of estimated gross domestic product for the full-year 2014, or just under $4 billion, and a deficit of 1.4 percent for the fourth quarter, the national budget office said on Friday.
That compared to a deficit of 0.6 percent reported a year ago.
Chile’s economy slowed rapidly in 2014, as mining investment fell and the copper price slid. State-run Codelco, the world’s no.1 copper producer, contributed 8 percent less income to Chile’s coffers than in 2013, the budget office said.
As the copper price has fallen to over five-year lows, many economists have said the Chilean government may need to tap into its emergency sovereign wealth fund, but the budget report showed it has not yet done so.
By year-end the value of the Social and Economic Stabilization Fund had reached $14.7 billion and its Pension Reserve Fund was at $7.9 billion, both relatively unchanged from the third quarter, it said.
Reporting by Antonio de la Jara; Writing by Anthony Esposito and Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama