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Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1997-1998

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 1997-1998

The Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1997-1998 is the fiftieth edition in this series. To mark this milestone, a special chapter has been included in this edition which traces the history of the publication and outlines the way in which the economic situation in the region has been viewed during each of the periods examined. Once again, the Survey has been published as a single volume consisting of three parts. Part 1 contains an overview of the economy in 1997 and the first half of 1998. Part 2 presents reports on the 20 countries of Latin American and on the situation in the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean. Part 3 reviews the 50 years of the Survey.

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Chile

In 1997 the Chilean economy completed 14 years of uninterrupted growth. Inflation again declined, slightly, ending at around 6%. Gross domestic product expanded by 6.9%, domestic demand by 8.5%. The national savings rate increased from 26.3% to 27.8%, but the amount saved was insufficient to finance the vigorous effort in gross capital formation (35.6% of output), which again required a significant amount of foreign capital. The current account therefore yielded a deficit of 5.3% of GDP, similar to the figure for 1996 but significantly higher than those for previous years; however, the deficit was more than covered by medium and long-term foreign investment. The public sector helped sustain investment with a savings rate of 5.5% of GDP and an overall surplus of 1.9%. Unemployment affected 6.1% of the labour force, while employment increased by 2.1%, real wages by 2.4% and average labour productivity by 5%.

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