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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Finance Minister inaugurates first financial meeting of APEC Chile 2019

During the event, the minister welcomed the delegations and noted how important it is to Chile to be hosting APEC this year. “This event is the perfect opportunity to show our commitment to multilateralism and international integration,” he said.

This morning, Finance Minister Felipe Larraín inaugurated the Finance Ministers’ Process, the first financial meeting of APEC Chile 2019.

The First Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting brought representatives from the 21 member economies together in Chile. During the event, which was held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Santiago, the Finance Minister welcomed the delegations and noted how important it is to Chile to be hosting the international forum this year. “This event is the perfect opportunity to show our commitment to multilateralism and international integration,” he said.

The Minister added that the 21 APEC economies represent 60% of global GDP, 50% of world trade and 40% of the world's population. “These numbers reveal the importance of this forum and the need to move forward on a number of issues in the area of finance,” he remarked.

The Minister then defined the key themes that Chile is promoting in the area of finance within APEC: encouraging integration among financial markets through the digital economy, promoting financial inclusion in the digital age and strengthening financial risk management for natural disasters.

“The Finance Ministry is optimistic about APEC’s agenda for this year and its ability to contribute to our efforts to meet the goal of achieving sustainable and inclusive growth,” he noted.

Wages are increasing

After attending the first financial meeting of APEC Chile 2019, the Finance Minister commented on the Chilean Wage and Salaries Index (IR). In January of this year it rose 1.6% in real terms. In nominal terms, the IR has increased 3.8% over the last 12 months.

“We are seeing positive signs, for example, in the labor market, which is closely linked to consumer spending. Today we can see that wages are growing and this reflects a significant improvement in the creation of quality jobs. When these types of things happen, we see an increase in consumer spending,” explained Minister Larraín.

With respect to the rise in fuel prices set to hit today, he explained that this is the first increase in more than four months of decreases. This development means that 93 octane gasoline will rise by $4.3 CLP per liter, 97 octane will increase by $1.5 CLP per liter and diesel will go up $5.1 CLP per liter.

“I want to stress that we have had 19 consecutive weeks of systematic decreases in prices. This was very good for consumers, but now the situation is more volatile because of hikes in international fuel prices. This makes it very hard to make predictions,” he stated.