Latest news in Chile (February 2023)

The embassy of Japan in Chile has issued the Chilean Political Situation Report and Economic Situation Report for February 2023. (Includes some data from the previous month.)

  • Politics

The large scaled forest fires that broke out in central and southern Chile at the end of January this year are attracting attention, along with the government’s reaction for them.
The damage caused by the fires has expanded due to the heat wave that has been for several days. Approximately 438,000 hectares of land, which is equivalent to the area of ​​Yamanashi prefecture, has been destroyed.
Also, it is reported that it caused 26 deads, 7,700 injured people, and 2,450 collapsed houses. Due to the severe damage, it is said that it was the worst forest fire in Chile’s history.
As of March 6, the fire hasn’t been extinguished yet, and there are still confirmed damages.
As a response of the Chilean government, president Boric visited the affected areas on the 3rd and declared a state’s emergency due to the great disaster.
A curfew has also been imposed in some areas at a later date.
Indigenous extremist groups are suspected of being responsible for the fires, but the main organization, the Union of Communities of Arauco and Majeco (CAM), denies this.
Also, the Japanese government decided to provide emergency aid materials through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

  • Economy

The economic activity index for January recorded 0.4%. In the mining section recorded 4.0%.
The mining production index for the same month was 2.9%, and copper production index was 1.3%.
The export amount in February was 8.34 billion dollars (14.2%), of which mining products raised 4.53 billion dollars (8.5%, 54.3% of the total), of which copper raised 3.45 billion dollars (-4.2%, 76.2% of the total mining export value).
On the other hand, import value in the same month was 6.34 billion dollars (-14.8%), and the trade balance was a surplus of $2.00 billion.
*Percentages from the same month of the previous year

The amount of trade with China, Japan, and South Korea (January) resulted as below:

With China: exportation 4.23 billion (16.2%), importation 1.37 billion (-45.4%), total amount of trade 5.6 billion (-8.9%)
With Japan: exportation 530 million (-32.5%), importation 260 million (29.9%), total amount of trade 790 million (-19.6%)
With South Korea: exportation 490 million (-17.2%), importation 150 million (29.0%), total amount of trade 640 million (-9.6%)
*Dollars, comparing to the same month of the previous year

References: The regular report of Chilean politics (February), from the Embassy of Japan in Chile.
The regular report of economy December 2022, from the Embassy of Japan in Chile, Department of Economy.
(The original reports are written in Japanese.)