Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer said that a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Chile will not disrupt the supply of the metal. Codelco managed to increase production in the first quarter despite the increase in infections in Chile. “We are this year with an increase in production to date,” said Juan Benavides, Codelco president. In recent years, Codelco has participated in the strongest investment program in the copper industry after decades of underinvestment in its old deposits.
The mining sector is likely to be one of the industries least affected by the lockdowns in Chile, S&P Global Ratings senior economist Elijah Oliveros-Rosen said. There may be some delays in transporting staff, but goods will be unimpeded by the restrictions. Chile had the highest estimated tonnage of copper production in the world in 2020, totaling 5.7 million tonnes, estimated to decrease to 5.4 million tonnes in 2021, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
Chile’s copper production fell to its lowest monthly production level for two years as output reached 425,500 tonnes, according to state copper agency Cochilco, 6.9% lower than the 457,200t recorded in January and 5% down on the 448,000t in February 2020.
According to the the National Statistics Institute (INE), the national unemployment rate reached 10.3% during the months of December-February. The Industrial Production Index (IPI) recorded a fall of 3.4% in twelve months, due to the fact that the three items that compose it showed declines in February. The Mining Production Index (IPMin) was the one that most influenced the result, registering a drop of 6.2% with respect to the same month in 2020.
With a population of just over 18 million, Chile still suffers from a deficit of at least 6,000 tech workers. Benjamin Toselli, Executive President at IT Hunter International and Managing Partner at the Chilean Association of Information Technology Companies (ACTI), believes the government must act or the deficit will grow. According to Toselli, there are two choices "increase the output of talent or open the country's borders".
eFuels produced at a first-of-its-kind hydrogen pilot plant in Chile are set to be tested by ExxonMobil and Porsche in race conditions. Co-developed by Siemens Energy, around 750,000 litres of eFuels will be produced as early as 2022 in the pilot phase, with capacity increased to about 55 million litres of eFuels a year by 2024, and around 550 million litres of eFuels by 2026.
The Monthly Business Confidence Indicator closed March with a value of 55.88 points, which is 0.15 points higher than February's reading. With this result being the third consecutive increase, it marks it as the highest value since February 2018 when it reached 57.38 points. However, this survey was conducted in early March which was before the increase of COVID-19 infections.
In February, face-to-face retail sales in the Metropolitan Region decreased in the real annual margin of 0.7%, slowing down from the 4.9% increase in January, according to the Chamber National Trade (CNC). As for the result in equivalent premises, the indicator showed a 6.4% decline after falling 2.6% in January. Total face-to-face sales accumulated between January and February a real annual growth of 2.1% and accumulated a real decrease of 4.5%.
Grape supplies in North America are shifting following the significant rain Chile received earlier this year, impacting its growing season. According to Larry Davidson of North American Produce Buyers, North America will get the majority of what’s shipped. A large percentage of the Chile's white grapes has condition issues which is a challenge. However, Chile has shipped many red grapes as they hold up better in the rain. Pricing between red and green grapes are very different, with the former costing less.
Chile's renewables produced 1,520 GWh in February, up by 16.1% on the year, according to the latest monthly figures released by Chilean energy commission CNE. This level of production represents a decrease of 15.3% month-on-month, while the renewables share fell from 26.5% in January to 24.6%. The total power production in Chile came at 6,170 GWh in February, down by 8.8% month-on-month and by 3% anually.