From 2021 to 2022, the overall cost of Chile’s imported products grew by 14.8% from $95.2 billion in 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Chilean peso depreciated by -36.2% against the US dollar since 2018 and diluted by -15.1% from 2021 to 2022. Chile’s weaker local currency makes its imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from Chilean pesos.
Domestically, Chile’s inflation rate was 11.633% in 2022 in terms of average consumer prices up from 4.524% for 2021.
Best International Suppliers for Chile’s Imports
The latest available country-specific data shows that 70.8% of products imported into Chile were supplied by exporters in: United States of America (35.6% of the Chilean total), mainland China (7.5%), Brazil (5.2%), Argentina (5.1%), Germany (4%), Japan (2.8%), Mexico (2.7%), Colombia (2.2%), Spain (also 2.2%), Peru (1.8%), South Korea (1.7%) and Italy (1.3%).
Applying a continental lens, about one-third (33.8%) of Chile’s total imports by value in 2022 were purchased from Asian countries. North American trade partners supplied 27.5% of import purchases made by Chile while 24.3% worth of goods originated from Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. At 12.1%, a smaller percentage came from European exporters.
Tinier percentages came from Oceania (1.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand, and Africa (also 1.1%).
Given Chile’s population of 19.9 million people, its total $109.3 billion in 2022 imports translates to roughly $5,500 in yearly product demand from every person in the South American country. That per-capita metric compares to an average $4,400 for 2021.
Chile’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Chile’s import purchases during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Chile.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$28.3 billion (25.9% of total imports)
- Vehicles: $12.1 billion (11%)
- Machinery including computers: $10.7 billion (9.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.6 billion (7.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $3.4 billion (3.1%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $2.4 billion (2.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $2.33 billion (2.1%)
- Iron, steel: $2.25 billion (2.1%)
- Meat: $2.1 billion (1.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $1.9 billion (1.8%)
Chile’s top 10 imports accounted for over two-thirds (67.8%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imports of inorganic chemicals posted the strongest growth in value among the top 10 import categories, up 87.6% from 2021 to 2022.
The second-fastest gainer were imported mineral fuels including oil (up 61%) trailed by knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories (up 37.1%), then vehicles (up 23.9%).
Among the top decliners, Chile’s imports of electrical machinery and equipment (down -12.4% from 2021) and meat (down -11.9%) posted double-digit reductions.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.
A at the more detailed 4-digit HTS code level, Chile’s most costly imported products are processed petroleum oils (13.9% of the South American country’s total import spending), crude oil (5.1%), cars (4.6%), petroleum gases (3.9%), trucks (3.5%), coal including solid fuels made from coal (2.8%), phone devices including smartphones (2.4%), computers (1.4%), medication mixes in dosage (1.2%), then electric motors or generators (also 1.2%).
Chile’s Top Mineral Fuels Imports Including Oil
In 2022, Chilean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$15.2 billion (up 101.6% from 2021)
- Crude oil: $5.6 billion (up 17.1%)
- Petroleum gases: $4.3 billion (up 24.8%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $3 billion (up 77.4%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $146.8 million (up 75.7%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $43.6 million (up 1832.7%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $23.4 million (up 2.1%)
- Peat: $15 million (up 7.5%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $7.4 million (up 42.9%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $4.7 million (down -78.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Chilean purchases of coke or semi-coke (up 1832.7%), processed petroleum oils (up 101.6%) then coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 77.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Chilean businesses and consumers.
Chile’s Top Vehicles Imports
In 2022, Chilean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$5.1 billion (up 25.7% from 2021)
- Trucks: $3.8 billion (up 17%)
- Tractors: $851.9 million (up 31.6%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $833.6 million (up 17%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $718.2 million (up 157.8%)
- Motorcycles: $244.2 million (down -0.5%)
- Trailers: $200.7 million (up 2.9%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $108.5 million (down -28.1%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $87.5 million (up 0.8%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $46.3 million (down -16%)
Among these import subcategories, Chilean purchases of public-transport vehicles (up 157.8%), tractors (up 31.6%) then cars (up 25.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Chilean businesses and consumers.
Chile’s Top Machinery Imports Including Computers
In 2022, Chilean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$1.5 billion (down -29.3% from 2021)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $896 million (up 6.8%)
- Machinery parts: $794.7 million (up 29%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $492 million (up 17.4%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $446.2 million (up 14.5%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $435.3 million (up 6.8%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $431.5 million (up 25.5%)
- Sort/screen/washing machinery: $394.1 million (up 34.4%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $347.4 million (down -32.9%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $262.5 million (down -1.3%)
Among these import subcategories, Chilean purchases of sorting, screening or washing machinery (up 34.4%), machinery parts (up 29%) then transmission shafts, gears and clutches (up 25.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Chilean businesses and consumers.
Chile’s Top Electronics Imports
In 2022, Chilean importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics.
- Phone devices including smartphones: US$2.7 billion (down -9.8% from 2021)
- Electric motors, generators: $1.3 billion (up 18.3%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $630.8 million (down -19.1%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $490.3 million (down -1%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $468.3 million (down -56.2%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $354 million (up 17.3%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $277.2 million (down -27.2%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $229.3 million (down -14.3%)
- Electric storage batteries: $221 million (down -4.2%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $220.9 million (up 26.3%)
Among these import subcategories, Chilean purchases of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 26.3%), electric motors or generators (up 18.3%) then electrical converters and power units (up 17.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Chilean businesses and consumers.
See also Chile’s Top Trading Partners, Chile’s Top 10 Exports, Brazil’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 16, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 16, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 16, 2023