UPDATE 2-Peru’s economy grows slower than expected in Jan

* Construction sector leads economic growth in January

* Manufacturing, fishing weak

* Economy expected to grow 5 percent this year

By Patricia Velez

(Adds wages, unemployment data)

LIMA, March 15 (BestGrowthStock) – Peru’s economy expanded a
slower-than-expected 3.63 percent in January from the same
month a year earlier, official data showed on Monday, as the
country recovers from the global financial crisis.

The growth in Peru’s gross domestic product was less than
that forecast by a Reuters poll of economists, which pointed to
a 5.5 percent rise.

Manufacturing grew just 0.24 percent, suggesting parts of
the private sector are still seeing weak demand, while mining,
the traditional backbone of the economy, expanded a tepid 0.57
percent in its first monthly increase since May.

Peru’s economy dramatically slowed last year as prices of
its metal exports slumped because of the global economic
crisis. GDP expanded only 0.9 percent in 2009 after surging
nearly 10 percent in 2008.

Growth in January was led by the construction sector, which
was up 10.17 percent, while lending activity by banks grew 10
percent, said INEI, the national statistics agency. Agriculture
grew 6.04 percent.

Fishing, which tends to be seasonal, dropped 27.14
percent.

In the 12 months through January, the economy grew 0.95
percent, the INEI said.

The government expects Peru’s economy to expand at least 5
percent this year as demand and prices continue to rebound for
the country’s metals.

INEI said the unemployment rate in metropolitan Lima, used
as a proxy for the country, rose to 9.6 percent in the three
months through February, from 9.3 percent in the same period a
year ago.

The average monthly wage in Peru’s capital rose 3.5 percent
in the same three-month period to 1,107 soles ($390).
Stock Investing

($1 = 2.84 soles)
(Reporting by Patricia Velez; Writing by Luis Andres Henao;
Editing by Andrew Hay and Padraic Cassidy)

UPDATE 2-Peru’s economy grows slower than expected in Jan