Peru economy grew 5 pct in 2013, weakest expansion since 2009

Reuters

LIMA, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Peru's economy grew 5.02 percent in 2013, the Andean country's weakest expansion in four years as mineral exports slipped and domestic demand eased, the government said on Friday.

In 2012 the economy surged 6.3 percent.

The official figure for last year's expansion was better than the 4.92 percent median forecast of economists polled by Reuters this week, but slightly under the central bank's last estimate of 5.1 percent.

The central bank has said the economy is expanding below its potential growth rate, which has typically been seen as between 6 and 6.5 percent.

Growth last year was led by commercial sales, services, construction and transportation, the government statistics agency INEI said.

Peru has not clocked such a weak growth rate since its 0.9 percent expansion during the 2009 global financial crisis.

The global exporter of copper, gold and silver posted its first trade deficit in more than a decade in 2013 as its mineral shipments tumbled on lower prices and softer demand from big buyers like China.

Some domestic sectors also grew at a slower pace last year. In 2013 construction activity rose 8.56 percent, down from a 15.75 percent expansion in 2012.

Sales activity last year rose 5.83 percent, mining 2.18 percent, manufacturing 1.71 percent and fishing 12.7 percent.

In December the economy grew 5.01 percent on the year, largely in line with a Reuters poll that projected a 5.05 percent expansion, but shrunk 0.4 percent compared to November.

The central bank said on Thursday that it expects more robust economic growth in the first quarter than in previous periods. In the last three months of 2013 the economy grew 5.2 percent compared to the same period a year prior.

Peru is the world's third-biggest exporter of copper and silver and sixth largest gold exporter. Around 60 percent of its export earnings come from mineral shipments.

The central bank and government expect a 6 percent expansion this year.

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