(Updates with additional detail on mining, manufacturing, protests)
SANTIAGO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Chile’s manufacturing production in December posted a second consecutive monthly increase of 4.2%, government data showed, bucking dire predictions of a slump in output following nearly two months of protests.
Mining activity, the country’s key economic driver, rose 2.8% from a year earlier, bolstered in part by an increase in output of battery metal lithium carbonate, government statistics agency INE said.
Copper production fell slightly to 554,953 tonnes.
Early indicators have shown Chile’s economy to be surprisingly resilient following the most violent protests since the country’s return to democracy in 1990.
For weeks in late 2019, vandals burned buildings, looted grocery stores and destroyed public infrastructure. The violence saw the military take to the streets for the first time since the dictatorship of strongman Augusto Pinochet. At least 30 people have died.
The unrest prompted the central bank in December to slash its 2020 growth forecast to a range of 0.5% to 1.5% from 2.75% to 3.75%.
Protests have subsided recently on announcements of a referendum vote on a new constitution in April and major social and economic reforms, though a flare-up of violence this week suggests tensions persist. (Reporting by Dave Sherwood; editing by John Stonestreet and Jason Neely)