Chile’s economic activity fell 12.4% in June from the same month a year ago, the central bank said on Monday, contracting less than expected at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
The bank’s IMACEC economic activity index encompasses about 90% of the economy tallied in gross domestic product figures.
Market-watchers polled by Reuters had expected a more severe contraction of 14.5%.
Finance Minister Ignacio Briones said there was little cause for celebration.
“It is a smaller decrease than the market expected, but it is still a substantial drop, which will make this second quarter the worst in a long time, with a drop in economic activity of around 14%,” Briones said in a statement.
During much of June, Chile posted over 5,000 new cases of coronavirus daily, forcing health officials to quarantine all of the capital Santiago, a city of more 6 million and the country’s economic engine.
But the world’s top copper producer has managed to shield its all-important mining industry from the brunt of the damage, the bank data showed, helping buoy overall economic activity.
Mining output grew 2.2% in June, even as non-mining activity plunged 14%, according to its figures.
The June statistic follows record-breaking drops in overall activity in both April and May.
(By Dave Sherwood; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Nick Zieminski and Richard Chang)