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Chile raises 2018 growth forecast to 3.8 pct

  SANTIAGO, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Chilean Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain said on Tuesday that the rate of economic growth for the year has been raised from 3.5 percent to 3.8 percent.

  The reason for the projected growth is the expected momentum of the local economy and the improvement in copper prices, one of Chile's most important exports.

  "Chilean growth will once again resemble world growth levels," Larrain said.

  Speaking before Congress, the minister said that copper has had a sustained valuation in the international market, supporting the market's current momentum.

  Copper will have an average price of 3.12 U.S. dollars per pound for this year, well over the 2.88 U.S. dollars suggested in the 2018 public expenditure budget, he said.

  "As a small and open economy, Chile is exposed," said the minister. "We're exposed in three distinct ways. Firstly, through the effect of global growth. Secondly, directly through copper. And thirdly, through the volatility of the financial markets. One could say that there are three channels through which the commercial war affects us."

  The ministry adjusted domestic demand from 4.1 percent to 4.8 percent. Inflation also saw a small rise in projection, from 2.8 percent to 2.9 percent.

  Meanwhile, financial market forecasts were more optimistic than those of the government, with a Central Bank survey reporting that financial market workers expected an expansion of 4 percent.

  If the adjusted forecast is met, the Chilean economy would record its biggest expansion since 2013, when growth rose 4 percent.