kredietrisico-beperken-kredietverzekering
Chile

Chile

Population 18,006 million
GDP 13341 US$
A3
Country risk assessment
A2
Business Climate
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Synthesis

major macro economic indicators

   2014 2015  2016 (e) 2017 (f)
GDP growth (%) 2.0 2.3 1.6 1.8
Inflation (yearly average) (%) 4.3 4.3 3.9 3.0
Budget balance (% GDP) -1.5 -2.1 -3.1 -2.8
Current account balance (% GDP) -1.2 -1.9 -2.1 -2.0
Public debt (% GDP) 15.1 17.5 20.3 23.3

 

(e) Estimate (f) Forecast 

STRENGTHS

  • Mining (leading copper producer), agricultural, fishery and forestry resources
  • Numerous free-trade agreements
  • Favourable business climate, political and institutional stability
  • International companies operating in distribution, air transport and paper
  • Member of the OECD and the Pacific Alliance

WEAKNESSES

  • Open economy, vulnerable to external shocks
  • Dependence on copper and the Chinese economy
  • Persistent external deficit
  • Vulnerability of the road network and electricity grid, and high energy prices
  • Exposure to weather and earthquake risks
  • Income disparity and poor education system

Risk assessment

Resilient growth in 2017

In 2016, lower production and weak copper prices dampened growth The country traditionally depends on the primary sector, specifically the extraction of copper, which accounts for almost half the country's exports. This trend is likely to continue in 2017. Exports of copper are nonetheless likely to benefit from the expected rise in prices, but gains will be limited by weak Chinese demand (largest customer). Private business investment in the mining sector is expected to remain weak, unless demand for metals (copper, in particular) rises again, subject to the infrastructure programme planned by the new US president being implemented. Investment by public-sector mining companies is likely to decline due to continued government efforts to contain the rise in spending and the priorities granted to non-mining sectors. Household consumption is nonetheless likely to remain dynamic, buoyed by the increase in social spending (housing, healthcare, education subsidies) included in the 2017 budget, despite higher unemployment. The expected fall in inflation is expected to boost household purchasing power and enable the central bank to ease its monetary policy.

 

Cautious management of the public accounts

In 2016, Chile's public deficit worsened, hit by weak revenues (taxes and duties) from the mining sector, while non-mining tax receipts also declined on the back of the slowdown in activity. Spending remained high, despite the government's efforts, as these were not sufficient to offset the shortfall in revenues. Although President Bachelet has postponed his objective of eliminating the public deficit by 2018, his administration seems determined to cut spending growth over the next few years. The 2017 budget also provides for a 2.7% increase in spending compared with 2016, which is the smallest increase since 2003. The major part of the budget is likely to be devoted to social spending (healthcare, education, security) to the detriment of spending on infrastructure. The government's draft budget also provides for recourse to borrowing, specifically the use of bond issues to finance the deficit in the public accounts in 2017. This will contribute to an increase in the public debt, which will nonetheless remain fairly low.

 

The current account deficit is resilient, despite the expected increase in copper prices.

With regard to the external accounts, Chile's current account deficit is expected to remain stable. The trade balance is likely to benefit from the expected increase in copper prices, but weak Chinese demand will limit any gains. The rise in the price of imported oil, though modest, will also prevent a faster reduction in the current account deficit. Despite the tourism revenues, trade in services is likely to remain in deficit, while the transfer balance is expected to remain slightly positive, thanks to remittances from expatriate workers which are higher than remittances back home by foreigners working in Chile. Dividend repatriation by foreign companies, particularly in the extractive industries, is expected to continue, but outflows are likely to be lower, because of the drop in profitability of companies in the sector.

 

The opposition is expected to win the 2017 presidential elections

The next presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in November 2017. President Michelle Bachelet, previously serving as president from 2006 to 2010, and re-elected in 2013, is not likely to stand again as under Chile's constitution an outgoing president is not allowed to stand. The coalition of right-wing parties (Chile Vamos), which won the 2016 municipal elections is favourite to win, while President Bachelet's left-wing New Majority coalition (Nueva Mayoría) is losing popularity. The administration's reform priorities, including the raising of corporate tax, have hit business confidence, contributing to a fall in investment and activity, already affected by weakness in the mining sector. The corruption scandals surrounding those close to the president and arguments between some of the coalition parties and the cabinet have led to historically low approval ratings for the president.
Nonetheless, the business climate remains favourable. Chile's stable institutions and business-friendly regulations mean the country will continue to be attractive for foreign investors.

 

Last update: January 2017

Payment

Promissory notes, cheques and bills of exchange are frequently used for commercial transactions in Chile. In an event of default, it offers creditors some safeguards, including access to the summary proceeding (Juicio Ejecutivo). Under ajuicio ejecutivo, based on his appraisal of the documents submitted, a first instance judge (Juzgado Civil) may order a debtor to pay at the moment of the notification – if the debtor fails to do so, his property will be seized. These documents may need to be validated by court before becoming legally enforceable.

 

Bills of exchange that are guaranteed by a bank are widely accepted, though somewhat difficult to obtain. They limit the risk of payment default by offering creditor additional recourse to the endorser of the bill.

 

Cheques, which are used more often than bills of exchange or promissory notes, offer similar legal safeguards underJuicio Ejecutivoin the event of unpaid for a cause (protesto), uncovered cheques, or closed accounts. Checks and the other mentioned documents, if not paid on time, can be reported to a Credit Report Company calledBoletin Comercial.

 

The same is true of the promissory note (pagaré), which - like bills of exchange and cheques – is an instrument enforceable by law and, when unpaid, may also be recorded at Boletín Comercial. The promissory note needs to be validated (protestada) by a public notary or in a judicial trial.

 

The “Boletín Comercial” is a company dedicated to conducting financial risk analysis. Itprovides to other information companies (such as Dicom, SIISA) information about the debts registered at national level for all kind of debtors. Boletín Comercial is the official and most important company, on this matter, at national level under the authority of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio de Santiago). Both, Companies and individuals, can be registered as debtors in the Boletin Comercial. The register provides key financial information that can be consulted by anyone who is interested in obtaining a picture of the financial behaviour of a Company or individual.

 

Electronic transfers via the SWIFT network, widely used by Chilean banks, are a quick, fairly reliable, and cheap instrument 

 

Debt collection

Amicable phase

Collection begins with an amicable collection process where parties can agree on a payment settlement or other payment plan. The length of this amicable phase depends on the predefined term of the documents supporting the debt (cheque, invoice, promissory note, bill of exchange). A formal notice is sent by a recorded delivery letter inviting the debtor to pay.

 

If the parties did not include any specific clauses in the commercial contract, the applicable rate for delays on the payment is the conventional interest rate as defined by the Central Bank of Chile on a periodical basis.

 

Ordinary proceedings

When a settlement agreement cannot be reached with the debtor, the creditor will initiate a legal collection process ruled by local civil procedure which.

 

Besides the Juicio Ejecutivo creditors who are unable to settle with their debtors out of court may enforce their right to payment through the corresponding legal action ruled by the civil procedure. According to the local procedural laws, there are two kinds of judicial collection procedures; i), ordinary proceedings (Juicio Ordinario); ii) and abbreviated proceeding (Juicio Sumario) depending on the value of the sued amount and the type of documents that support the debt .

 

Claimant needs to explain the basis for their legal action and enclose all supporting documents (original copies) and evidence. After the first presentation in court, the judge will decide whether the legal action has basis or not. If the judge considers there are enough arguments and evidence, he will give course to the process.

 

All judicial action needs the presence of a barrister or solicitor (lawyer), whether taking place in front of a minor court (Juzgados – primera instancia) or superior court (Corte Apelaciones o Suprema- segunda instancia)

 

Debtors can dispute ruling with motivated arguments that law contains at the Código de Procedimiento Civil (Civil Procedure Code, defences) such as payment of debt, prescription, compensation, etc. Judges will consider these arguments and will accept or reject the defence. It is important to note that, while the defences of the debtor are discussed by the parties in the trial, the steps relating to seizure of assets are not stayed. The idea of this is that the debtor cannot delay the procedure unnecessarily.

 

Trials can last from six months up to two years, depending on the document, the debtor’s defence, and if an appeal is filed following the initial judgement.

 

Enforcement of a court decision

 

Domestic judgments are enforceable when all appeals have been exhausted. If the debtor fails to comply with the decision, the court can order an auction of the debtor’s assets. Collection from a third party owing to the debtor is not possible.

 

Foreign judgments may be enforced if the Supreme Court validates these through an exequatur proceeding. Chilean law only recognises foreign judgements on a reciprocity basis: the issuing country must have an agreement with Chile regarding recognition and enforcement of legal decisions. Proceedings can last from between one to two years.

 

Insolvency proceedings

Out-of court proceedings: Extra-judicial reorganization

The 2014 bankruptcy law recognizes agreements between creditors and debtors that are reached outside of a bankruptcy proceeding, whereby a court approves the agreement that was developed outside of the bankruptcy court. In order to be approved, two or more creditors whose claims represent at least 75% of the total claims corresponding to their respective group must accept the plan.

 

Chilean law distinguishes different categories of creditors during a bankruptcy process, e.g. employees owned money, creditors that have a mortgage (usually banks), etc. Creditors in these categories have preference for payment over others. If creditors do not meet the criteria to be part of these categories, they do not receive have any kind of preference for payment.

 

While considering the approval of said plan, the court stays the procedure and the legal actions against the debtor. However, during this time also, the debtor is prohibited from disposing of any of its assets. After approval, the plan has the same effect as a judicial reorganization.

 

Restructuring proceedings: Judicial reorganization

These agreements are more formal than extra-judicial agreements, and can only be filed by debtors, as they have to declare their insolvency to the court. The proceedings apply to both secured and unsecured creditors. Once debtors enter the judicial reorganization process, they must subsequently propose a reorganization plan, which requires the approval of at least two thirds of the total number of creditors.  

 

Liquidation

Liquidation is organized through a single procedure initiated upon demand of the debtor or creditors. The latter can file for bankruptcy when a debtor defaults without appointing an administrator for its business. Once bankruptcy is declared, a trustee is given responsibility for the debtors’ business and assets.

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