Chile's economy contracts 3.3% in November after unrest

1 min

Santiago (AFP)

Chile's economy contracted by 3.3 percent in November compared to 12 months earlier, due to the impact of the South American country's worst social unrest in decades, the central bank said on Thursday.

Gross domestic product had already fallen by 3.4 percent over a year in October, when mass street protests broke out against inequality and the government of President Sebastian Pinera.

Demonstrations that began on October 18, initially against a modest metro fare hike, quickly escalated and left 29 people dead amid accusations of a heavy-handed response from security forces.

Strikes and protests hit Chile's economy -- usually considered one of the strongest and most stable in the region -- hard.

Pinera responded by announcing a raft of policies aimed at appeasing protesters, including enacting a law that will allow the dictatorship-era constitution to be changed.

November's fall was actually less than the expected 4.0 percent contraction.

The central bank shortened its projection that the economy will grow in 2019, down to 1.0 percent from 2.25-2.75.

It expects growth of between 0.5-1.5 percent in 2020.