Empresas Copec reported a sharp drop during its first quarter. According to the company’s financial statements, profits in the first tranche went from US $221 million in 2019 to US $6 million, representing a decrease of 97.1%. The company explained that a decrease in profits is mainly due to a drop in the operating result of approximately US $134 million, which went from US $309 million in the first quarter of 2019 to US $175 million in 2020.
Sabrina Souviron Gumucio
Chile’s GDP rose 0.4% year-on-year in the first quarter. Domestic demand fell by 2.6% in the first three months of the year, while the mining sector of the world’s largest copper producer rose by 5.1%. The Central Bank predicts that the Chilean economy will shrink between 1.5 and 2.5% this year due to the pandemic, while the government estimates a fall of 2%.
For the first time, Chilean blueberry exports have not increased. In the 2019/20 season, exports of blueberries from Chile have slightly decreased since last season. In total, 133,650 tons were exported, which is 2% less than the 2018/2019 season’s 137,100 tons. The reason for this is because last season the North American market imported more blueberries from Peru than Chile.
Franklin Mining Inc. has entered into a joint venture with Inversiones Mineras Scorpius Chile SpA. This agreement covers the joint effort to explore the Chilean Los Totems copper mine held by Ossandón and Inversiones Mineras Scorpius Chile SpA.
Enel has broken ground on the 60.9-MW Azabache Park solar power plant located on the grounds of Enel Green Power Chile’s 90-MW Valle de los Vientos wind farm. The company expects to invest some USD $49 million in the project, which will form part of the first hybrid industrial plant in the country.
In what will prove to be a boost to Chile’s citrus producers, China’s general administration of customs (GAC) has issued the protocol on phytosanitary requirements for Chilean fresh citrus exports to China. An export agreement between the two countries was signed in December 2019, and according to China’s customs service, the first consignment has been approved for export.
According to the latest report by the Capital Goods Corporation (CBC), a deepening of the decline in public and private investments is projected for this year, but are optimistic for an increase in 2021. In relation to this year, the report indicates that private and public investment will reach $16.89 billion, a figure that represents a decrease of 12% compared to 2019.
Due to the mandatory quarantine lithium projects in Argentina and Chile have halted, while significant investments have already been cancelled. According to English consultancy Roskill, lithium production is expected to drop globally by 110,000 tonnes this year, representing a loss of US $960 million. Production is expected to drop by 35% in Argentina and 20% in Chile.
The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, María José Zaldívar, reported that the number of dismissal letters for April 2020 reached 238,115. Among the causes with the greatest increase are “company needs” with 66,024 contracts ending in April 2020, and the “expiration of fixed-term contracts” with 83,265 letters of termination in April.
A survey carried out by the Federation of Tourism Companies of Chile (Fedetur) revealed that 70% of firms in the sector have taken advantage of the law to protect employment while 53% applied for the COVID-19 loans. Regarding layoffs, companies said: 53% hadn’t dismissed people, 4% had made a complete reduction and 11% had fired half or more of their workers.