Chile's March copper production falls 7.2%, manufacturing output up 3.3%

SANTIAGO, April 29 (Reuters) - Copper output in Chile, the world's largest producer of the metal, fell 7.2% year on year to 462,360 tonnes in March, the country's statistics agency INE said on Friday.

The agency said that there was "less ore processing in important companies in the sector."

The Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) has said drops in production have been due to operational issues and water supply issues in certain mines.

Both Anglo American AAL.L and Antofagasta ANTO.L have reported drops in production due to water availability issues exacerbated by a historic drought that's affected the country for more than a decade.

Manufacturing output on the other hand rose 3.3% year-over-year in March while a Reuters Poll expected a drop of -1.1%. The March bump follows a -2.2% dip in February.

In its report, INE said the rise in manufacturing was largely due to a 5% year-on-year increase in the production of food products. This was pushed by "greater production of bread, due to an increase in national demand," the agency said.

Manufacturing of mining equipment and machinery also rose due to an increase in orders from mining companies.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; writing by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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