June 15, 2016 / 3:32 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 2-Peru economic growth in April weakest in almost a year

(Adds details, context)

By Teresa Cespedes

LIMA, June 15 (Reuters) - Peru’s economy grew at the weakest pace in nearly a year in April, as a sharp drop in fishing activity kept expansion to just 2.47 percent from a year earlier, while rising copper output provided a boost, state statistics agency Inei said Wednesday.

The market had expected a 3.65 percent year-on-year expansion in April, a Reuters poll showed.

The official result, the slowest monthly expansion since May of 2015, followed restrictions on anchovy catches that hit fishmeal factories.

Fishing activity shrank 77 percent and manufacturing activity dropped 13.7 percent year-on-year in April, Inei said. But copper production jumped 55.6 percent and construction activity expanded 1.36 percent.

The Andean country’s mining-powered economy quickened late last year thanks to an ongoing surge in copper output from new mining projects, but domestic demand has remained relatively weak. Peru is a leading copper, gold, zinc and silver supplier and the world’s biggest producer of fishmeal.

Slower-than-expected growth in both March and April could bring second-quarter growth under the 4.42 percent year-on-year expansion in the first quarter.

The government has forecast a 3.8 percent economic expansion in all of 2016, and president-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has targeted growth of upward of 5 percent starting next year.

In the first four months of the year, the economy expanded 3.9 percent from the same period a year ago while the annualized growth rate slowed slightly to 3.7 percent in April, Inei said.

The economy grew by a seasonally-adjusted pace of 0.7 percent in April from March. (Reporting By Teresa Cespedes, Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

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