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UPDATE 1-Chile's economic activity sinks 5.3% in September - central bank

(Adds sectoral figures, info from release, background)

SANTIAGO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Chile’s economic activity sank 5.3% in September year-on-year but grew 5.1% from the previous month, the central bank said on Monday, as the world’s no. 1 copper producer emerged from the worst period of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Andean country’s IMACEC economic activity index , which encompasses about 90% of the economy tallied in gross domestic product figures, ordinarily sees a bounce in September as its citizens celebrate the annual independence holidays.

Mining activity declined 1.9% on the same month the previous year, an improvement from the 3.4% drop reported the previous month, while non-mining activity fell 5.7%, compared to a drop of 12.2% in August. Mining activity fell 1.5% from August while non-mining activity rose 5.9%, according to seasonally adjusted figures.

The worst-hit sectors were construction, education and transport along with restaurants and hotels, the bank said, while trade, business services and manufacturing rallied.

Mauricio Carrasco, an analyst with Chilean consultancy Econsult, said figures released on Friday showed that retail sales had experienced a bounce from the withdrawal by citizens of 10% of their privately held pensions under a new law to counter the effects of the pandemic.

“The September data confirms the acceleration of economic activity as confinement measures are eased and people movement increases,” he said.

Previous months have seen double-digit falls in activity compared to the same month the previous year. In August, activity dropped 11.3%, it sank 10.7% in July, 12.9% in June and 15.2% in May.

The coronavirus hit Chile in March and strict nationwide lockdowns and nighttime curfews were announced that saw shops shuttered, offices closed and mining of the key copper commodity forced to downscale staffing and suspend maintenance projects and smelters.

In August, as contagion rates eased and hospital beds freed up, the country began to ease lockdowns. (Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Alison Williams and Bernadette Baum)

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