Peru's finance minister sees GDP up 5 to 5.5 pct in Q1 -state news agency

viernes 4 de abril de 2014 11:34 GYT

LIMA, April 4 (Reuters) - Peru's finance minister said the economy likely grew by between 5 and 5.5 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago as mining and construction picked up, the state news agency reported Friday.

In January the economy grew by 4.23 percent year-on-year, more slowly than the central bank and private analysts expected. Official data has not yet been released for February and March.

Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla told state news agency Andina preliminary indicators for mining and construction point to more robust growth after the first month in 2014.

"We estimate that growth in February of this year is going to be above 5 percent and in March it will be above 6 percent, which puts us at growth of around 5 and 5.5 percent in the first quarter," Castilla was quoted saying on Andina's website.

Castilla's office did not immediately respond to requests to confirm the comments.

Central Bank President Julio Velarde has also forecast stronger economic growth after January.

Both the government and central bank have said they expect the economy to grow by 6 percent in 2014 following last year's slower-than-expected 5 percent expansion.

(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)