15 de julio de 2014 / 16:23 / hace 3 años

UPDATE 1-Peru May economic growth weakest in nearly 5 years

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LIMA, July 15 (Reuters) - Peru's economy grew 1.84 percent in May compared with the same month in 2013, the slowest monthly expansion in nearly five years, as mining fell for the third month in a row, the government said on Tuesday.

The economy grew 3.57 percent in January through May from the same period in 2013, dragged down by May's unusually weak expansion.

In the 12 months through May the economy grew by 5.07 percent from the same period a year prior, the state statistics agency Inei said.

The official result for May was largely in line with the central bank's expectation that growth in May and June would continue to expand at roughly the same sluggish pace as it did in April, when the economy rose just 2 percent.

The last time Peru's usually fast-paced economy expanded so slowly was in October 2009, when the Andean country was still reeling from the global financial crisis.

In May last year, the economy expanded 4.3 percent year-on-year.

The central bank cut the benchmark interest rate last week to counter the economic lull and said it would lower it further if growth does not pick up.

The monetary authority has said it considers Peru's potential growth rate to be 6 percent.

Growth in Peru's economy, which expanded at annual rates topping 6 percent for most of the past decade, has slowed as its key mineral exports have slumped on lower global prices and softer demand.

In May, mining activity fell 6.1 percent on the year, the third monthly drop for the sector that makes up nearly 15 percent of gross domestic product, according to Inei.

Construction recovered from its slump in April, expanding by 4.75 percent in May and helping to offset the dip in mining and a 2.53 percent fall in manufacturing.

The economy shrank at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.6 percent in May compared with April, Inei said.

Peru is a top exporter of copper, silver, gold and zinc.

In 2013, when economic growth slowed to its weakest in four years, the central bank and the government both forecast more robust growth in 2014 but weaker-than-scheduled output from some big mines has dampened those expectations.

The finance ministry and central bank have said growth should pick up in the second half as mining output is set to rise.

Both are revising 2014 growth forecasts. The central bank last estimated, in April, that this year's expansion would be 5.5 percent and the finance ministry said in June it was trimming its 5.7 percent forecast. (Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and James Dalgleish)

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