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Prudent Chile Thrives Amid Downturn -
During the emerging economies' commodities boom a few years back, Chilean Finance Minister Andrés Velasco was a wet blanket at the fiesta. Chile, the world's largest copper producer, was reaping a bonanza from the quadrupling in the metal's price. Mr. Velasco insisted on squirreling away a large chunk in a rainy-day fund. As the savings swelled above $20 billion - more than 15% of Chile's economic output -- Mr. Velasco faced growing pressure to break open the piggy bank. In September, protesters barged into a presentation by Mr. Velasco, carrying an effigy of him and shouting, "The copper money is for the poor people." The 48-year-old Mr. Velasco, wary that a flood of copper income could generate lending and consumption bubbles, stood his ground, even as the popularity of the center-left government withered. Latin American history, he cautioned, was full of "booms that had been mismanaged and ended badly. Today Mr. Velasco looks like a prophet."
chile  economics  copper  moderation  development  globalization  latinamerica  politics  money  crisis  2009  prudence  savings  rainydayfund  andrésvelasco 
november 2009 by robertogreco

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