Statement by the Central Bank of Chile:
Regarding activity and demand, the information at hand for the second quarter points to somewhat less than expected dynamism, partly due to poor performance of mining and some specific factors. Some qualitative background indicators suggest that additional downside risks may be expected for the coming months. About consumption, imports of consumer goods have slowed down and consumers’ expectations have deteriorated significantly (IPEC). The labor market shows no significant changes, the unemployment rate remains around 7% and various indicators point to increasing job creation. On the investment side, the favorable evolution of some elements related to business services contrasts with the moderation of sales of construction materials and business expectations (IMCE), which are still slightly below their neutral levels. On the other hand, exports contracted beyond expectations, partly reflecting the weakness of some trading partners. In this context, the growth expectations contained in the Economic Expectations Survey (EES) decreased for both this year and next.
The annual CPI variation remained at 2.3% in June, while core inflation (CPIEFE) continued to hover around 2% annually. Among core inflation components, it is worth noting the widespread drop in the prices of services, more closely linked to capacity gaps and labor costs. On the contrary, the goods component of the CPIEFE posted unexpected growth, although largely driven by tourist packages. As for inflation expectations, there is a decrease for both the end of 2019 and one year ahead. For two years ahead, while the EES median remained at 3%, the median of the Financial Brokers Survey dropped to 2.8%.
The Board considers that information accumulated since the publication of the last Monetary Policy Report reflects increased risks associated with the timely convergence of inflation to the target over the policy horizon. In particular, due to lower services inflation figures, whose persistence is high relative to other CPI components and the risks surrounding the future evolution of activity and demand, in a context of high external uncertainty. In case these tendencies persist, the Board estimates that it will be necessary to extend the current monetary stimulus, in a magnitude to be assessed in the next Monetary Policy Report. Accordingly, it reiterates its will to conduct monetary policy with flexibility, so that projected inflation stands at 3% in the twoyear horizon.