SANTIAGO, April 15 ― Chilean President Gabriel Boric faces an economic slowdown and high inflation, which conflicts with his goal to expand social programmes, and could increase pressure for more financial stimulus, according to a Bank of America report released yesterday.

The government recently announced a US$3.7 billion (RM15.65 billion) economic recovery plan to support sectors still affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and while the report states the plan is “reasonable and targeted so far ... there will be pressure to spend more.”

The report says that higher food prices and a weakening economy clash with the population's high expectations of reform from the new government and the drafting of a new constitution, putting pressure on more spending.

On Tuesday, the government presented a limited pension withdrawal plan in an attempt to block a larger withdrawal promoted by legislators.

The bank said that while the government's limited proposal would have less impact on inflation as it represents a fifth of the money from the larger withdrawal, it still presents risks for the economy and prices.

“This is naturally less damaging than a full pension withdrawal, but it increases disposable income and may have some impact on demand and inflation,” the bank said.

The report also said that Chile's central bank has taken a “dovish rhetoric” on raising interest rates given fears of a recession, but this will be “tested by recent inflation surprises.”

In March, Chile reported a monthly inflation rate of 1.9 per cent, the highest level since 1993.

A separate report from Capital Economics predicts Chile's central bank will deliver at least 200 basis points of additional rate hikes in the current cycle, to 9 per cent.

“That's more tightening than the path implied by the central bank's rate corridor as well as the latest analyst consensus,” the Capital Economics report stated. ― Reuters