SANTIAGO, July 13 (Reuters) - Consumer confidence in Chile fell in June to its lowest since a 2009 recession as political scandals, weak economic growth, and rising unemployment sapped sentiment, a survey by pollster Gfk Adimark showed Monday.
The poll of 1,101 people, which was conducted in June, indicated the economic perception index sat at 37.2, down from 39 in May.
Consumer sentiment has been on a downward trend for two years in Chile, the top copper exporter. It has remained below the 50 level, which indicates that the number of people negative on the economy outweighs the positive, for 13 straight months.
During June, Chile’s good run in the regional Copa America soccer tournament - they eventually won the championship on July 4 - captured the brunt of the media’s attention. According to Adimark, however, ongoing disenchantment with the scandal-wracked political class overshadowed any positive effects that Chile’s good performance in the tournament.
“In conclusion, the Copa America celebration was not enough to move consumer confidence to a more optimistic level,” the pollster said.
Adimark added that consumers “seemed to agree” with recent comments by Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdes, who said in June that the politics of the country were tamping down the economy.
In recent months Chile’s business and political elite has been rocked by allegations of cronyism and illicit campaign contributions from major businesses, a situation which has been blamed for creating a climate of uncertainty.
Economic growth in Chile crawled to a five-year low of 1.9 percent in Chile in 2014 and has been slow to recover in 2015, owing to soft domestic demand and natural disasters in the nation. (Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Jeffrey Benkoe)