(Adds context, details on growth by sectors, comment from finance ministry)
LIMA, July 14 (Reuters) - Peru’s economy grew by a faster-than-expected 3.39 percent in May from the same month a year earlier, the quickest pace in four months thanks to a surge in anchovy catches that offset an ongoing slump in construction, state statistics agency Inei said Friday.
The economy expanded 1.96 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2017 and 3 percent in the 12 months through May, Inei said.
A Reuters poll had forecast a 2.8 percent reading for May.
The finance ministry said the robust expansion in May marked a turning point for the economy following a sharp slowdown earlier this year in the wake of severe flooding and a graft scandal that stalled public work projects.
“This economic acceleration will likely hold in coming months, driven by greater public investments and spending on maintaining and rehabilitating public infrastructure,” the ministry said in a statement.
Construction fell 3.91 percent year-on-year in May but fishing rocketed 280 percent on anchovy catches, Inei said. Manufacturing rose 11.31 percent, thanks to a pick-up in activity at the factories that turn anchovy into fishmeal for export.
Mining, which drove last year’s 3.9 percent economic expansion with surging copper output from new mines, grew just 1.68 percent.
Peru’s economy grew 0.79 percent at a seasonally adjusted rate, Inei said. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)