(Recasts, adds retail sales, copper output, context)
SANTIAGO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Economic output data from Chile on Thursday was better than the market expected, lending hope that a much-anticipated recovery might be gathering speed.
Manufacturing production rose 1.8 percent in September from a year earlier, boosted in particular by a bumper wine grape harvest and one additional working day, government data from the statistics institute showed.
The reading compared with a Reuters poll forecasting a 1.1 percent decline. On a monthly basis, output rose 0.4 percent.
Although copper makes up around one-half of Chile’s exports, the Andean country is also an important producer of wine, fruit, salmon and paper.
Despite some temporary mine closures after an earthquake in central Chile in mid-September, copper output also had a good month, snapping recent declines to grow 0.5 percent year on year.
“A significant impact was not observed from the September earthquake and tsunami on national data,” the INE statistics agency said.
The end of the commodities boom and weaker Chinese demand sparked a general slowdown in Chile’s economy last year, and a long-predicted uptick has been repeatedly delayed.
Once red-hot domestic consumption has also been anemic. But retail sales also did relatively well in September, up 3.1 percent annually.
However, the economy is far from out of the woods. The effect of the wine harvest will likely be short-lived, and a number of miners’ announcements of cuts in copper production in the wake of a fall in prices will begin to be felt later in the year. (Reporting by Rosalba O‘Brien; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)