Foreign direct investment in the first half of 2021 grew by 28%. According to InvestChile, its project portfolio registered a 28% increase in the amount of foreign initiatives in the country, after reaching a total of $23.976 billion, versus $18.764 billion in the same period of 2020. China was the main investor in that period, as it raised by 26% the amount of initiatives and by 11% the number, totalling 30 projects valued at $5.646 billion.
Chile recorded a trade surplus of $604 million in July, Chile's Central Bank reported. The country exported a total of $7.943 billion, an increase of 27.3% over shipments in the same month last year. Imports reached $7.339 billion, a year-on-year increase of 55.3%, its highest on record.
Highview Enlasa's first liquid air energy storage facility in Latin America will be a 50 MW CRYOBattery system in the Atacama region in Chile. This is the first joint venture between Highview Power and Energía Latina SA. The system will be located in Diego de Almagro. The project, with an investment of approximately $150 million, is currently in the pre-feasibility engineering phase and is scheduled to enter environmental processing in August of this year. Construction is estimated to start in the second half of 2023.
With a month and a half to finish the first 10% withdrawal of pension funds, 90% of the affiliates have completed this pricess while the remaining 10% (1.2 million peope) have not. In total, $21.128 billion have been paid.
Santander Chile goes back to international markets and successfully issues CHF 150 million ($167 million) Senior Notes due in 2027, with a spread of 62 basis points above the Mid-Swap, which is equivalent to a coupon of 0.33%. The transaction was carried out with the advisory of Credit Suisse AG and Commerzbank AG. This signifies a return of the Bank to the international public debt market since January 2020 and is the first operation of Santander Chile in Switzerland since August 2019.
The World Bank raised its growth projections for Chile to 6.1% in its "World Economic Outlook" report for June 2021. The reason for the increase is that vaccines continue to be delivered at a robust pace and private consumption is boosted by the pension withdrawals allowed during the pandemic.
President Piñera approved a law to give families the economic aid to alleviate the impact of the pandemic until September. This will reach 100% of those registered in the Social Registry of Households (RSH) and will benefit 15.1 million people. A one-person household will be paid $177,000, a 3-person household will receive $400,000 and a 4-person household will get $500,000. This is from June to August. In September, beneficiaries will receive 50% of the amount.
Chile's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 0.3 % in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year, in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic that pushed the health system to the limit and forced to confine a large part of the country, according to the Central Bank.
A total of $48,021 million had mobilized the Chilean pension system until May 14, to pay members and beneficiaries their resources in the three retirement savings processes. Accounting for all 3 withdrawals, the pension fund managers (AFPs) had carried out 23,506,943 payment operations up to the aforementioned date. For the first withdrawal, 10,656,408 affiliates and beneficiaries received an average amount of $1,416,934. For the second withdrawal, 8,048,294 people have received their payments, with an average amount of $1,471,639. For the third withdrawal, the average amount paid per person is $1,475,550.
According to iQonsulting's 2020-2021 Blueberry Yearbook, Chile exported more than 20,000 tons of organic blueberries in the previous campaign, a record volume that was 35% higher than the volume it exported in the 2019-2020 campaign. This growth is associated with the entry into force of the System Approach in the Ñuble and Biobio regions, which would be responsible for the large increase in organic exports as its exports increased by 148% going from 2,900 tons in the 2019/20 campaign to 7,182 tons in the 2020/21 campaign.