AROUND THE GLOBE—ONE CITY AT A TIME
BY SANDRA A. SWANSON
Santiago represents Chile’s economic hub,
and a long list of multinational corporations—
including Unilever and Nestlé—have their
Latin American headquarters located in
the city. Food processing and textiles are
two of the primary industries in Santiago,
but copper plays an even bigger role. The
industry has helped bring prosperity to
Santiago as well as Chile, but it hasn’t been
shielded from the effects of the global
financial crisis. Copper prices have plummeted during the past year.
To address the economic upheaval caused
by the decline in copper prices, the Chilean
government unveiled a $4 billion fiscal
stimulus package in early January 2009.
Analysts don’t anticipate the plan will create
a sudden rebound, though. The country’s
economy is only expected to grow 1. 5 percent this year compared to 4 percent in
2008. Santiago has been hit hard by job
losses, too. By the end of January 2009,
unemployment in the city and the surrounding metropolitan area had reached
9. 7 percent.
Population: The capital of Chile, Santiago is one of
the largest cities in Latin America with nearly 5. 5
million residents in the metropolitan area.
Approximately one-third of the country’s population
lives in Santiago, and 90 percent of Chileans live
within 320 kilometers (199 miles) of the city.
Language: The official language is Spanish.
Schools here often teach English, which is commonly used in international business.
Currency: Chilean Peso (CLP)