* Reading of 0.31 percent well below 1.55 percent forecast in Reuters poll
* Drop in fishing hurts primary manufacturing
* Expected economic recovery elusive (Updates sol currency’s slide in seventh paragraph)
By Teresa Cespedes
LIMA, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Peru’s economy grew 0.31 percent in November from the same month a year earlier, the slowest monthly expansion in more than five years and well below market expectations, data from state statistics agency Inei showed on Thursday.
November’s result, the weakest since July 2009 when Peru was reeling from the global financial crisis, was dragged down by a drop in manufacturing and an ongoing slump in mining, Inei said.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast 1.55 percent growth in November, when the economy tends to get a boost from end-of-year public spending and holiday shopping.
The global mineral exporter’s economy surged 7.97 percent in November 2013.
The lull is a reminder of still-sluggish growth despite official forecasts for a rebound starting in the second half of 2014.
After slowing to 0.34 percent year-on-year in June, growth picked up to 2.7 percent in September before slowing again in October.
The poor reading for November stoked sales of the sol currency , which slid past the psychological barrier of 3 soles per U.S. dollar to close at a new more than five-year low.
The central bank, which sees Peru’s potential growth rate at 5.3 percent, will decide late Thursday whether to hold the benchmark interest rate unchanged for a fourth straight month.
In all of 2014, gross domestic product likely rose by about half of 2013’s 5.8 percent.
The economy grew 2.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2014 and 2.9 percent in the 12 months through November, Inei said.
During a mining boom in the past decade, annual growth rates tended to top 6 percent.
Growth in November was led by retail, construction, agriculture and services, which expanded 3.78, 3.68, 5.32 and 6.23 percent respectively.
Primary manufacturing, mainly fish and metals processing, slumped 41.5 percent as restrictions on anchovy fishing hurt fishmeal factories.
Mining, which rose slightly in October, shrank 1 percent in November because of labor problems and weak copper output, Inei said.
About 60 percent of export earnings come from mineral shipments and mining tends to make up nearly 15 percent of gross domestic product.
Peru has struggled to offset the impact of lower mineral prices and weak gold and copper output. The government of President Ollanta Humala introduced several economic reform and fiscal packages last year to jump-start growth.
The official growth target for 2015 is 5 percent. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Franklin Paul and James Dalgleish)