Home > South America > Chile > Chile Overview > Economy, Past and Present
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Chile

Economy, Past and Present

Chile has a tremendously strong economic reputation, both in Latin America and within the greater global economic community. Over the past decade, by building up a market-oriented fiscal system which is heavily focused on financial institutions and foreign trade, the Chilean government has successfully created a stable and fruitful economic situation.


Chile’s economy is very reliant on the trade of copper. This natural resource provides an impressive third of all government revenue; fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, and wine round out the rest. Exports as whole account for 40% of the country’s $69.1 billion Gross Domestic Product (as of 2008).


As far as imports, Chile trades with the U.S., China, Brazil and Argentina to meet these countries' demand for oil (and its by-products), chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, motor vehicles, and natural gas. Currently these imports do not outweigh Chile’s exports and the country is operating with a trade surplus.



For most of the 20th century Chile’s economy suffered under successive military dictatorships. Under the Pinochet regime, economic policy was heavily inspired by the so-called "Chicago Boys" and followed a path of heavy liberalization and consolidation of the free market; howver poverty jumped dramatically too. However, following the overthrow of Pinochet, the Chilean economy of the 1990s thrived. Patricio Aylwin’s democratically elected government inspired impressive growth rates and introduced much-needed economic reforms; during this time the GDP averaged a staggering 8% yearly growth. However in 1999, the bubble burst. Following low export earnings and unwise monetary policies put into place to control mounting deficits, the country fell into a moderate recession.


Chile quickly bounced back and by the end of 1999 the fiscal situation was already beginning to improve. Since this time, the country’s GDP has grown at a steady rate of each year and Chile has continued to build its reputation as a solid economic force through government efficiency, high-quality education, a reliable infrastructure and high workforce productivity. A commitment to building a strong and stable economy has lead to (among much else) the 2004 implementation of a free trade agreement with the U.S., an active example of their belief in trade liberalization.



While Chile has had its economic ups and downs, the country claims the strongest economy in Latin America, boasting the highest nominal GDP per capita. The World Bank considers Chile to have simple and solid regulations for conducting business with strong protection over property rights—they rank Chile 33rd in the world with the Ease of Doing Business Index.


A few quick facts concerning Chile’s economy:

-Chile’s main industries are wood and wood products, textiles, iron, steel, transport equipment, cement, fish processing, copper and other minerals.

-Chile produces 15,100 barrels of oil per day, consuming, however, 253,000.

-The unemployment rate in Chile is 7.5% (as of 2008).

-Chile’s GDP per capita is $163,915 (2007, World Bank).


While Chile undoubtedly has a strong economy, it is not without its problems. In January 2009, the external debt reached an estimated $64.57 billion and the rich/poor divide continues to increase disproportionately. What’s more, the county’s great dependence on a few natural resources (copper in particular, whose overall value dropped last year) and a lack of natural gas and oil, means that it remains vulnerable to fluctuations in global economic conditions.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Chile: Politics and Chile Government and Politics.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
06 Jul 2009

View Chile Map

South America | Central America and Mexico | Antarctica |
Advertise | Anúnciese | Jobs | Alliances | Alianzas | Terms of Use | Contact Us | About Us | Blog | Administradores |
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password