Chile’s exports grew 35%; its imports rose 75%

Chile‘s exports had a year-on-year growth of 35% in May, to 7.92 billion dollars.

Conversely, its imports totaled 6,606 million dollars, 74.8% more compared to the same month last year, reported the Central Bank of Chile.

Both imports and exports only consider products for this comparison, not services.

With this, Chile’s trade surplus was reduced to 1,314 million dollars, from 2,089 million dollars registered in the same month last year.

Measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant slowdown in Chile’s economic activity, which has affected and will continue to negatively affect its economic growth in 2021.

To understand: in 2020, the primary sector of the Chilean economy grew 0.3%, the manufacturing sector decreased 3.5% and the services sector contracted 7.1%, in each case, in real terms.

While the primary sector remained stable, the decline in the manufacturing sector was mainly driven by lower prices in the textiles, apparel and leather subsectors, and the non-metallic mineral products and base metal products subsectors, and the decline in the services sector, it was mainly caused by lower activity in the transport and personal services subsectors.

Chile’s exports

Imports from this country rose due to purchases of consumer goods (117.9%); intermediate goods (65.7%) and capital goods (52.3%).

On the contrary, Chile’s exports expanded mainly due to sales of mining products (66.8 percent).

More than anything, this was due to copper exports, which climbed 69.9%, encouraged because prices broke record.

In all of 2020, Chile’s imports originated mainly in China (28.0% of total imports), the United States (17.7%), Brazil (7.3%), Argentina (5.4%), Germany (4.0%) and Mexico (2.8 percent).

In sum, Chilean merchandise imports were $ 54.9 billion in 2020.

Intermediate goods, such as oil and other fossil fuels, accounted for 57.4% of total imports in 2020 compared to 49.6% in 2019.

Likewise, imports of consumer goods represented 31.2% of total imports in 2020 compared to 28.8% in 2019.

Finally, goods accounted for 24.9% of total imports for that period compared to 21.6% in 2019.


The main destinations for Chile’s exports for 2020 were China (which received 38.2% of total exports), the United States (13.4%), Japan (8.6%), South Korea (5.7%) and Brazil (4.3 percent).

In the year ended December 31, 2020, merchandise exports totaled $ 71.7 billion.

In 2020, the share of Chile’s exports to Asia as a percentage of total exports increased from 54.9% to 57.8%, while the share of Chile’s exports to North America decreased from 17.0% to 16.2%, compared to 2019 .


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