Moving Forward – Introduction to Chile
As I begin to add content to my blog I think it is important to begin by familiarizing my readers with the Latin American region. I will do this not only to broaden my own understanding but also to cater to those readers who may have never visited or studied these countries yet have an interest in exploring what kind of opportunities they may offer. I will begin by providing an overview of each of the Latin American countries that have proved themselves to be the most notable players in the global marketplace. I will go into a bit more depth for certain countries than others, however, for each country I will be sure to provide some broad background information as well as a short economic overview before delving into the intricacies of the markets and current trends that are of value and consequence in this region.
Having spent the spring semester of this year living and studying in Santiago, Chile I will begin with… you guessed it…Chile
The Republic of Chile is a lively Latin American country with a burgeoning economy that borders the South Pacific Ocean and spans over 2,700 miles of coastline. Chile boasts a population of just under 17 million people, nearly 6 million of whom reside the capital city, Santiago. Chile is a republic in which the president is democratically elected to represent the people as both the head of state and the head of the government. The current president of Chile is Sebastián Piñera who was elected in January, 2010. For more general info, please visit the country insight on Chile provided by globalEDGE. Also, check out their blog for more valuable and current information on global business trends.
Over the past 2 years Chile’s economy has faced some major challenges. In February of 2010, a massive earthquake struck central Chile, which was recorded at 8.8 on the Richter scale and is estimated to have caused damages amounting to nearly 17% of the national GDP. What’s more, Chile supports a market-oriented economy that is strongly centered on foreign trade. This would lead one to believe that the damage done by the earthquake coupled with the global effects of the “great recession” would have had dramatically negative effects on its economy. However, Chile’s economy has rebounded and continued to grow steadily despite recent adversity. In fact, Chile is currently viewed as having the most stable economy of all Latin American countries. Chile has received an A+ credit rating from Standard & Poors and it boasts the “strongest sovereign bond rating in South America” according to the CIA World Factbook.
Chile has created a unique economic model that combines a heavy reliance on free trade, foreign investment and free market policy with sound fiscal regulation and control of major industries by the government. Chile’s economy has recently proven resilient. Nevertheless, like most South American countries, Chile has had a tumultuous past, and prior to delving deeper into the intricacies of Chile’s current economy it is important to consider certain key points in the country’s history.
Please stay tuned for my next post in which I will explore the origins of Chile’s economic system and relate how the economic transformation has shaped the way this country does business today.