(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s unemployment dropped while retail sales surged as government aid boosted consumption and coronavirus cases fell from a peak.
The jobless rate fell to 9.5% in the three months through June, below the 10% median estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey, the national statistics institute reported on Friday. Unemployment fell back to single digits for the first time sine April 2020. Retail sales grew 65.6% from a year ago driven by clothing and household goods, while industrial and manufacturing production grew.
Chile hit a virus peak in early June, when the capital Santiago went into full lockdown and available hospital beds fell to dangerously low levels. Since then, restrictions have been rolled back and over 63% of residents have been fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker. At the same time, early pension fund withdrawals and cash transfers are buttressing demand.
The central bank expects gross domestic product to increase 8.5%-9.5% this year. This month, policy makers raised their interest rate for the first time in over to years and signaled a gradual roll-back in stimulus.
Read more: Chile Lays Out Plans for Gradual Tightening After Key Rate Hike
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