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A panoramic view of the city of Santiago, Chile June 6, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

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SANTIAGO, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Chile’s economy expanded 17.2% in the third quarter of 2021, the central bank said on Thursday, helped by a fast coronavirus vaccine campaign, a low year-earlier base and government spending that has bolstered activity.

The economy in the July-September period rose 4.9% against the previous quarter, the bank added. Disputed pension withdrawals have also helped pump more money into the economy and boosted consumer spending.

Chile, the world’s largest producer of copper, will vote for a new president on Sunday in the country’s most polarized election in decades, where its market-orientated economic model is under scrutiny amid rising anger over inequality.

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President Sebastián Piñera said last week the economy was set to grow over 11% this year amid a rapid recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, higher than the previous government forecast but in line with that of the central bank.

Economic activity has been favored by lofty prices for red metal copper, but also by government aid to households and the partial withdrawal of pension savings approved to alleviate the crisis.

Chile, like other countries in Latin America, has been hiking interest rates this year amid concerns about an overheating economy and rising inflation.

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Reuters Graphics

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Adam Jourdan Editing by Mark Heinrich