During the first quarter of 2021, there was a 98% increase in the sale of apartments and a 64% increase in the house market compared to the same period last year. Sales show a strong increase, as does the available stock of homes which for apartments increased by 75% compared to the first quarter of 2020. The communes of Ñuñoa and Santiago Centro lead in sales, with 18% and 12%, according to a report prepared by Colliers.
A clear improvement in the index of foreign direct investor confidence in Chile was evident in March compared to September 2020. Specifically, the confidence of foreign direct investors in the business was somewhat optimistic. This indicates progress as the previous measurement was more at a neutral level. 188 companies from different countries of origin and economic sectors participated in this measurement, equivalent to 55% of the foreign direct investment arriving in Chile.
During the first quarter of 2021, China remained the main buyer with a 40.9% share of total Chilean exports. Exports from the mining sector represented 74.4% of total shipments to the country, at $6,381 million and an increase of 57.6% over the same period last year. Non-mining exports accounted for 25.6% of shipments to China, totaling $2,191 million. Fruit and nuts exports accounted for 64.7%, registering an increase of 24.0% and totaling $1,418 million. This increase is largely explained by the 38.1% increase recorded by cherries, compared to March 2020.
AES Gener has shut down the 58.35 MW Central Laguna Verde thermal power plant in line with its plans to end its thermoelectric operations in Chile. The company has made a formal request to the Chilean Energy Commission (CNE) to permanently disconnect the two steam and one gas turbines that make up Central Laguna Verde. The company stated that this decision follows the company's strategy of accelerating its transition to renewable energies, a fundamental part of AES Gener's green energy strategy.
In 2020, Chile had the southern hemisphere's biggest planted area and the biggest export volume (more than 70 million boxes of cherries were exported). One of the strongest blows of the season was the rumor that COVID-19 had been detected in a box of Chilean cherries prior to the Chinese New Year. To combat this, Chile launched a promotional campaign which cost them more than $1.5 million. The campaign lowered their negative perception from 80% to 20%. For 2021, the number of planted hectares are expected to increase.
According to the Superintendency of Pensions, $37,457 million has been registered regarding both processes of the AFP payments. Meanwhile, payment operations reached 18,224,751. For the first withdrawal, the AFPS mobilised $21,196 million with an average with an average amount paid per person of $1,414,553. For the second withdrawal, there was a disbursement of $16,261 million and an average amount paid to each member and beneficiary of $1,481,244.
Mining giant Antofagasta said copper production was at 183,000 tonnes, which is on track with expectations for the first quarter. However, the company warned that Chile's lockdown meant planned maintenance work at Los Pelambres would be pushed back to later this year.
In the Transportation Cost Index (ICT), a monthly increase of 0.4% was recorded in March 2021. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), this brings the total to 4.1% so far this year. This was explained by the increase in the fuel group (4.8%), which had an impact of 1.189 percentage points (pp.) on the monthly variation of the general ICT.
Chilean agribusiness Garces Fruit signed a long-term power purchase agreement with Acciona SA to cover its total electricity consumption in Chile with 100% renewables. Acciona started delivering the contracted supply in February. The customer’s fruit processing plants in the Maule and O’Higgins regions will be sent electricity from Acciona’s portfolio of wind and solar power in the country.
Inform has set up a joint venture with its Chilean partner, Workforce Solutions. Inform says it will invest ‘significantly’ in the new joint venture and acquire shares, while the remaining stock will be held by former shareholders and executives of Workforce Solutions. The new company has officially been operating as Inform Software since mid-April 2021. It has its headquarters in Santiago de Chile.