Chile’s export revenue fell 12% to $5.3 billion in November, the central bank said on Monday, more bad news for an ailing economy hammered by the worst unrest since the South American nation’s return to democracy in 1990.
Weeks of sometimes violent protests, riots, arson and looting have led to at least 26 deaths and billions in losses to private businesses and public infrastructure. The unrest prompted the central bank last week to slash forecasts for growth, investment and demand through 2020.
The bad news for Chile was made worse by falling prices for both copper and lithium. Chile is the world’s top producer of copper, and the No. 2 producer of lithium, both critical building blocks for electric vehicles. Revenue from copper exports plunged 8.7% in November to $2.772 billion, while lithium exports tumbled nearly 6% to $67 million.
The country’s vast copper mines have nonetheless largely maintained output despite more than 50 days of protests. Top lithium producers SQM and Albemarle have also said production had largely been spared.