Chile's economy is seen surging in the second quarter as the world's top copper producer recovers from a a massive February quake, a central bank poll of financial analysts showed on Thursday.
Strong growth would reaffirm views that the central bank will raise rates for the first time in nearly two years and join the ranks of Brazil and Peru in a regional monetary policy tightening cycle.
According to the poll, analysts predicted the economy will expand 4.5 percent in the second quarter, a hefty increase from growth of 3 percent that was forecast in the previous survey.
The IMACEC economic activity indicator is seen rising 4.5 percent in May, while inflation is expected to grow 0.3 percent in June.
Analysts see the central bank raising its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 0.75 percent at its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. Analysts see the rate at 2.5 percent by December, betting on a more gradual pace of normalization in the monetary policy as European debt woes continue to rattle global markets.
Chile's economy surged 4 percent in April, signaling that the worst of the Feb. 27 quake was over. The 8.8-magnitude tremor killed over 500 people and destroyed cities, infrastructure and key industries like forestry and fruit farming.
Economists see strong growth in anticipation of the flow of billions of dollars to help rebuild cities and infrastructure.
Post-quake rebuilding has helped boost retails shares that helped catapult the blue chip IPSA index .IPSA to fresh highs on Wednesday.
Analysts maintained their earlier forecast for full-year gross domestic product growth of 4.5 percent. (Reporting by Antonio de la Jara and Alonso Soto; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)