SANTIAGO – Chilean Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdes said on Thursday that the Central Bank’s latest, more pessimistic estimate of economic growth in 2015 must be taken “as a challenge.”
The Central Bank’s quarterly report on monetary policy revised the growth forecast downward, from 2.5-3.5 percent to 2.25-3.25 percent.
“These figures should not make us complacent, they show us we must keep working to expand the economy’s capacity for expansion,” Valdes said by videoconference from Paris, where he is attending a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“Economic growth is not a mechanical process that happens on its own, we must work to achieve it,” he said. “In that sense, we take (the Central Bank report) as a challenge.”
Valdes became finance minister last month when President Michelle Bachelet undertook a major Cabinet shuffle.
He acknowledged from the start that one of his priorities was restoring dynamism to Chile’s economy, which has been hurt by a decline in the price of its main export, copper, and declines in domestic consumption and investment.
Chile’s gross domestic product grew only 1.9 percent in 2014, the worst performance in five years.