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中国株レポート
投資の視点
新興成長国基礎データ
中華人民共和国
パプアニューギニア
インドネシア
スリランカ
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インド
韓国
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ボツワナ

Geography

Extending 4,265 km along the Pacific coast of South America, from the Peruvian border in the North to the southernmost point of the continent (Cape Horn), Chile is a land of marked regional diversity. There are four principal geographical zones; (1) the mineral-rich desert in north; (2) the fertile central valley; (3) the fjord inlets and archipelagos of the far south; and (4) the cordillera of the Andes, occupying the entire eastern part of the country and forming its frontier with Argentina. Total land area is (excluding Chilean Atlantic territory) 756,000 sq. km. One quarter of this area is made up of islands. At its maximum the country is about 400 km wide, and the average width is no more than 176 km.

Demography

In 1992 the population was estimated at 13.5 million, about 80% of mixed European and Indian origin and 83% urbanised. Most of the population is concentrated in the central zone, which contains the largest urban centres - the Santiago metropolitan area (5 million),Valparaiso (0.3 million) and Concepcion (0.5 million). The population grew at an annual rate of 1.7% from 1979 to 1989 and is expected to reach a total of about 15 million in the year 2000. Children under the age of 15 make up 31% of the population. The literacy rate is officially estimated at 92.3% and about 42% of the population aged over 14 has received a secondary or higher education. In 1985 some 13% of men and 9% of women held a university degree.

The labour force is estimated at about 4.7 million, distributed among the following sectors: manufacturing industry (18.1%), agriculture (15.5%), trade (17.9%), personal and domestic services (12.8%), community and social services (12.5%), government and financial services (7.4%), construction (5.6%), transport and utilities (6.4%) and mining (2.9%).

History and Political Situation

Chilean independence from Spain is officially dated from September 18th, 1810. Following an initial period of territorial consolidation and political restructuring, Chile was governed by parliamentary rule until the mid-1920's. This was succeeded by a period of political and economic instability with two intervals of military rule. Democratic government was re-introduced in 1932 and for the greater part of the next thirty years Chile was administered by Radical (social democratic) or Radical-led coalition governments. The Christian Democrats under Eduardo Frei came to power in 1964 and initiated a number of fundamental reforms, including land reform.

In 1970 the Marxist coalition Unidad Popular won the presidency for Dr. Salvador Allende. His government, although it had won only 37% of the popular vote, put into effect a radical nationalist and socialist programme. Political polarisation within Chile became increasingly severe as economic disruption resulted from the government's policies. In September 1973 the armed forces staged a coup d'騁at. The congress was dissolved and Chile was subsequently ruled by a military junta comprising the Commanders-in-Chief of the army, navy, air force and police. General Augusto Pinochet, Commander-in-chief of the army became Head of State in June 1974 and President in December of the same year.

In September 1980, the junta promulgated a new constitution that was approved by plebiscite. This introduced a gradual process of political normalisation leading to a further plebiscite in October 1988 to determine whether General Pinochet was to be given a further term of office. The plebiscite rejected this option, showing a clear majority (54%) in favour of open presidential elections.

In the general elections held on December 14th 1989, Patricio Aylwin, the Christian Democrat leader of the main 17-party opposition coalition, polled 55% of the vote becoming President in March 1990. The coalition also gained 22 of the 38 elected seats in the Senate and 71 of the 120 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Since March 1990, Chile has been governed by a bicameral parliamentary system.

The main political groupings are Renovacion Nacional (centre right), Union Democrata Independiente (right wing), Democracia Cristiana (Christian Democrats), Partido por la Democracia (PPD) (an alliance of leftist parties), and Partido Amplio de Izquierda (PAIS) (an alliance of Marxist and non-Marxist socialist parties).

Sr. Aylwin's government is moderate and has kept the successful economic policies of the previous government basically unchanged. The government and the centre-right opposition are co-operating to achieve national reconciliation and the consolidation of democracy. This has permitted a remarkable "soft-landing" in the transmission from a military regime, although a small number of terrorist groups remain active.

Economy

On taking power in 1973, the military junta's immediate priority was to reduce inflation, running at an annualised rate exceeding 500%. State expenditure was sharply reduced - the budget deficit fell from 13% of GDP in 1972 to 2.6% in 1975, subsidies and price controls were eliminated and tariffs decreased to a uniform level of 10% by 1979. Liberal economic policies were introduced, offering incentives to foreign investment and dismantling the barriers that the previous regime had erected to protect local industry from external competition. The programme of agrarian reform, introduced in the 1960s by the Christian Democrats, was brought to a halt and some 39% of the nation's productive land was restored to its former owners while a further 20% was sold. Most of the companies nationalised by previous administrations were privatised, or returned to their original owners.

After the shock of the reduction in purchasing power created by the government's measures the economy began to grow, maintaining an average annual growth rate of 7.1% over the period 1977-81, fuelled, in part, by borrowing from abroad and a domestic credit boom. In its pursuit of inflation control, the government fixed the exchange rate at the unrealistically high level of pesos 39 = $1. Domestic manufacturers were unable to compete with imports and rising oil prices, combined with falling copper prices, set off a slump. In 1982, GDP fell by 14%, industrial production declined by 21% and over 60,000 firms went out of business, as well as some of the country's principal banks becoming technically insolvent. The peso was devalued sharply, increasing the burden of foreign obligations contracted by the private sector. Salaries in the private sector lost 50% of their purchasing power between August 1981 and October 1983 and by 1984, Chile's external debt of $19 billion exceeded its annual GDP.

GDP growth resumed in 1984, and has since averaged some 6.2 % annually. The government promoted structural change in order to encourage exports and the focussing of the economy on areas of natural comparative advantage. The imaginative use of debt-equity swaps resulted in over $ 8 billion of external debt conversions.

Chile's main strength is as a low cost producer of raw materials: primarily minerals, forest products and food (notably fish and fruit). Copper traditionally accounted for over half of Chile's export income, but increasing diversification into non-traditional areas is reducing the country's reliance on copper revenue: copper accounted for less than 40% of exports in 1992. Substantial primary products investment programmes were completed in the early 1990s, such as La Escondida copper mine and Celulosa Arauco pulp mill. These will contribute to strong export growth. Chile remains vulnerable, however, to fluctuations in commodity prices, since it is only recently that moves to add value to raw materials within Chile (e.g. food processing, furniture manufacture) have been gathering momentum. Nevertheless, non-traditional exports in such diverse fields as farmed salmon, wine and berries have been growing rapidly, and Chilean companies have benefited from increased demand in neighbouring countries as a result of their economic stabilisation programmes.

The new government raised tax rates in 1990 to finance greater expenditure on public health, education and housing . In June 1991 import tariffs were cut to 11% to help fight inflation and weaken the peso by stimulating imports. Both factors have stimulated consumer demand, and in turn investment underwent a boom in 1992, rising to 21% of GDP. An important reform to the capital markets was introduced early in 1993, paving the way for Chile's successful domestic savings institutions - private sector pension funds and life insurance companies - to finance a greater proportion of domestic corporate and infrastructure investment.

The challenge for 1993 is to prevent 1992's success translating into over-heating: unemployment is presently 4.6% of the labour force, its lowest in 20 years, consumer price inflation at 12.7% is the lowest for 8 years and 1992's 10.4% rate of GDP growth is unsustainable. Productivity improvement and a continuation of high investment levels - foreign and domestic - should combine with lower rates of increase in government spending to generate steady growth in 1993 and beyond. Chilean companies, exploiting their two decades of experience of structural economic reform, have been among the leaders in acquiring under-managed assets in neighbouring countries embarking on similar reform programmes. Thus they are beginning to position themselves in advance for the regional economic integration which should characterise the remainder of the 1990s.

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